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Russia to support Armenia’s efforts to join Customs Union

November 18, 2013, 19:15 UTC+3 131 ¶ ¶ MOSCOW

At a meeting with his Armenian colleague Edward Nalbandyan on Monday, November 18, Lavrov noted the high level of contacts between the two countries

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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Korotayev

MOSCOW, November 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia will actively support Armenia’s efforts to join the Customs Union it has formed with Belarus and Kazakhstan, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

At a meeting with his Armenian colleague Edward Nalbandyan on Monday, November 18, Lavrov noted the high level of contacts between the two countries. “It’s hard to say for sure how many times we have met this year. This is natural, considering the wide range of our relations, including at the level of heads of state and government. There is also close inter-regional dialogue,” he said.

Nalbandyan noted that the current meeting would allow both sides to exchange opinions on pressing aspects of bilateral relations and review the implementation of agreements reached by the leaders of the two countries.

“It is also very important to develop cooperation within international organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Council of Europe, and the Customs Union,” the Armenian prime minister said.

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said earlier that Russia and Armenia cooperated most actively in all areas of interstate relations without exception. Over the past years, Russian-Armenian cooperation has developed into a rather complex and multifaceted structure.

He stressed that Russia plays a key role in ensuring Armenia’s security and has a leading position in its economy.

“Today Russia plays a key role in Armenia’s security system and it occupies a leading position in our economy,” he said. “Russia is the main investor in the Armenian economy, one of its main creditors and one of the major foreign trade partners.”

“We are interested to improve these relations further, which is fully consistent with our national interests,” the prime minister said.

“Over the past 20-odd years we have not only preserved the centuries-old friendship between our peoples but we have also enriched it with new content and raised it to a qualitatively new level,” Sargsyan said, adding, “Strategic partnership between Armenia and Russia has crowned this friendship.”

“We give priority among others to diversification of economic cooperation between our countries. We are convinced that intensive interaction in sectors that build up innovation potential will give a boost to our economic cooperation. This will also allow us to fill our strategic partnership and allied relations between Russia and Armenia with new substance,” he said.

The two countries have good prospects in many sectors of the economy, primarily in the energy sector, the power industry, atomic energy, and many other serious projects.

There is also a big potential in joint development of the agro-industrial sector in Armenia.

Mutual trade between Russia and Armenia had reached 1.2 billion U.S. dollars this year. “In our relations we proceed from the allied nature of our partnership as evidenced by our contacts at all levels,” Lavrov said.

“Mutual trade turnover between Russia and Armenia has reached 1.2 billion U.S. dollars this year and keeps growing,” he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed in his message to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in September that Russian-Armenian relations had deep historical roots, had grown into allied partnership and continued to develop further.

He also expressed confidence that together Russia and Armenia would be able to further strengthen their relations and expand cooperation in various multilateral formats, including in the context of Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union created by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

The Customs Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia came into existence on January 1, 2010. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia are to go on with economic integration and vowed to remove all customs borders between each other after July 2011.

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