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Stronger ties with Moscow among priorities for Armenia, says top diplomat

Russian-Armenian relations have a solid foundation, according to Lavrov

MOSCOW, June 7./TASS/. The Armenian government is committed to strengthening cooperation with Russia, which remains among its priorities, Armenian Foreign Minister Zograb Mnatsakanyan said at talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday.

"Our relations have a rather strong foundation. Commitment of the Armenian government to deepening and strengthening our allied cooperation, our cooperation on the basis of mutual understanding, mutual respect has been and remains among our goals and priorities," the diplomat stressed.

"This is reflected in the government program that is now submitted to the parliament. This is the spirit and mood of my trip to Moscow," the foreign minister added.

Mnatsakanyan emphasized his soft spot for Russia. "This is my first visit as minister, and my first foreign trip is to the Russian Federation in line with our allied relations. I am glad to be here, given my personal warm feelings towards Russia and Moscow, he said.

"My student years at Moscow University were among the best years in my life. I am grateful for professional training that I received at the university," he added.

Lavrov, for his part, said talks with his Armenian counterpart come several weeks after the first personal meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"I express hope that today, on the heels of our leaders’ contact, we can look into concrete issues of continuing our allied relations and strategic partnership both on the bilateral trajectory and within the framework of our participation in different international organizations," the Russian diplomat said.

Pashinyan, the leader of Armenia’s opposition, was elected the prime minister on May 8 after a series of mass anti-government protests.