MOSCOW/YEREVAN, April 9. /TASS/. Armenia’s new President Armen Sarkissian, who took office on Monday, told TASS he plans to visit Moscow in the near future.
"Naturally, I will be very interested in visiting Moscow as Armenia’s president in the near future. Armenian leaders traditionally pay their first official visits to Moscow. So far, no concrete date has been agreed," he said. He noted that as Armenia’s president he saw it as his major task to strengthen strategic partnership with Russia, cement friendship between the two nations and encourage contacts between people.
"I would like to use this occasion to wish Vladimir Putin, who scored a landslide victory at the presidential elections in Russia, further big achievements in the development of the country’s economy, improvement of living standards in Russia and enhancement of its role on the global arena," he said.
Sarkissian deems as very important the role of Russia in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
"For more than 25 years talks on the conflict settlement have been held in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group, on the basis of the settlement principles and elements suggested by the co-chairs - Russia, the US and France," the president said in an interview with TASS. "Russia plays a key role in the process of the Karabakh settlement as a co-chair of the Minsk Group," he went on to say.
President Sarkissian stressed that "a three-party ceasefire in Karabakh was achieved 23 years ago exactly due to Russia’s mediation." "We highly value these mediatory efforts in the search for a peaceful political solution to the problem," the president added. "It is obvious that political will to achieve peace and accord is necessary for the settlement of the problem. Armenia, for its part, is doing everything it can to achieve peace and expects the same moves from the Azerbaijani side," the Armenian leader said.
"Eventually, all regional conflicts find their settlement, they are quite surmountable," the president said. "History has seen conflicts no less cruel and dramatic," he added.
The new president of Armenia was elected by the country’s parliament on March 2. Under the constitutional reform, Armenia is switching over to a parliamentary system of government. The head of state, who is elected by members of the parliament, the National Assembly, will fulfill limited and representative functions.
Sarkissian who used to serve as Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom was elected by the parliament on March 2. Prior to the constitutional reform that followed the 2015 referendum, Armenian presidents were elected by direct and universal suffrage. When all constitutional amendments finally come into force, Armenia will complete its transition to a parliamentary form of government, with the prime minister exercising executive authority and the president performing mainly representative functions and being in charge of control over compliance with the constitution.