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GYUMRI (Armenia), December 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia and Armenia should develop inter-regional cooperation.
In his speech at the third Russian-Armenian forum held in Gyumri, the Russian leader emphasized that inter-regional cooperation was becoming a vital factor for strengthening trade and economic ties between the two countries.
“All regions in Armenia and about 70 regions and territories in Russia are already involved in regional cooperation,” Putin added. He noted that Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Rostov, Sverdlovsk and Ulyanovsk regions as well as the Krasnoyarsk and Stavropol territories maintained most active contacts with Armenian partners. According to Putin, they have signed about thirty inter-regional agreements for trade, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.
“It is important that we continue building the potential for mutually beneficial partnership, attract small and mid-sized businesses to inter-regional cooperation; expand youth and tourist exchanges and establish contacts between Diasporas, civilian and public organizations,” the Russian president said.
Putin emphasized that Russia was the leading trading partner and the main investor in the Armenian economy. In 2012, trade turnover between the two countries increased by more than 20 percent to exceed 1.2 billion dollars, Putin said. Russia accumulated more than three billion dollars worth of investments. That accounts for over 40 percent of all foreign capital investments.
Russia and Armenia implement joint infrastructure and energy projects, the Russian head of state said. The fifth power unit of the Hrazdan thermal power plant began operation in Armenia on Monday. Other cooperation projects include increasing the capacities of the Sevan-Hrazdan cascade of the thermal power station, the expansion of a lifespan of the Armenian nuclear power plant and modernization of Armenia’s railway network.
“The traditions of trust and friendship are determining the nature of bilateral relations as relations between partners and allies. The city of Gyumri (the former Leninakan), which survived a terrible earthquake 25 years ago, has become a symbol of reciprocal support and close ties that unite Russia and Armenia,” Putin said, greeting the participants in the third Russian-Armenian forum.