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Lavrov praises Russian-Armenian strategic partnership

Moscow welcomes Yerevan’s efforts aimed at providing humanitarian aid to civilians in Syria

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. Relations of alliance and strategic partnership between Russia and Armenia have become really all-embracing by the time the two countries mark the 25th anniversary since the date of establishing diplomatic relations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an article published on Monday by the Novoye Vremya newspaper in Yerevan.

"April 3, 2017, marks a significant event the 25th anniversary since the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia established diplomatic relations," he indicated. "This date emblematizes a new stage in Russian-Armenian ties that have a history of several centuries."

Lavrov recalled the traditions of friendship and mutual assistance uniting Russia and Armenia, as well as cultural and spiritual kinship.

"We really have something to take pride in," he said. "We've managed to multiply the invaluable heritage of Russian-Armenian friendship over the past quarter of a century, to take interstate cooperation to a quality new level and to reach impressive results in the key areas where we invest our efforts together."

He added that Moscow and Yerevan are developing political dialogue, parliamentary relations, activities of intergovernmental commissions in the economy and defense technologies, and an interparliamentary commission.

"Thus relations of alliance and strategic partnership that rely on the August 29, 1997, treaty of frienship, cooperation and mutual assistance, and on the September 26, 2000, declaration of alliance and cooperation are really all-embracing," Lavrov said.

Nagorno-Karabakh settlement

Settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh depends on Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s political will and their readiness for compromise solutions, Lavrov said.

"Much has been agreed but a number of issues, although the most complicated ones, are yet unsettled," he said. "But, obviously, results of the work depend, first of all, on the political will of the parties and their readiness to demonstrate flexibility and meet each other half-way."

According to Lavrov, Russia remains an active participant in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement efforts. "Jointly with the United States and France - the other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - we are helping the parties to reach sustainable solution to the conflict," the Russian top diplomat noted. "It was a key task of last summer’s trilateral summit in St. Petersburg that was initiated by the Russian president."

Humanitarian aid to Syria

Moscow welcomes Yerevan’s effort aimed at providing humanitarian aid to civilians in Syria, the top diplomat said. 

The Russian top diplomat pointed out that Moscow and Yerevan had been closely cooperating on major multilateral platforms. "Together with Yerevan, we have been making efforts aimed at using the significant potential of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). We have also been boosting political interaction within the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)," Lavrov added.

"We welcome Armenia’s contribution to the common effort to provide aid to the Syrian civilians," the Russian foreign minister stressed.

According to Lavrov, today, the two countries "are facing large-scale common tasks on ensuring the prosperity of Russia and Armenia, maintaining peace, stability and security in the South Caucasus."

"Together with our Armenian friends, we continue the work directed at effectively solving these tasks for the good of our peoples," Lavrov wrote. "The solid foundation of the Russian-Armenian cooperation, friendly and respectful relations between our two peoples, based on mutual trust, are the key to success."

Trade turnover

Trade turnover between Russia and Armenia grew 6% last year despite turbulence in global economy, Lavrov said. 

Russia is Armenia’s leading trade and economic partner, Lavrov noted. "We account for around half of all foreign investments - nearly $3bln. Some 2,000 enterprises with Russian participation are working in the republic," Lavrov said.

"Despite the turbulent situation in global economy, last year the trade turnover grew 6%, reaching $1.34bln, including due to the increasing supplies of Armenian agricultural goods to the Russian market," he noted.

The agreements reached during the January 24 talks in Moscow between the heads of government of the two countries are aimed at further enhancing cooperation and implementation of promising projects, Lavrov said.

Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union, an economic bloc that came into force in January 2015 and also brings together Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, "opened up new horizons," Russia’s top diplomat said.

"We are working together on adapting the republic’s economy to the rules of the Eurasian Economic Union. We provide the necessary financial and technical assistance to Armenian friends," Lavrov said, also noting that the program of inter-regional cooperation for 2016-2021 is being implemented successfully.

"We pay special attention to deepening cultural and humanitarian ties and contacts between people," Lavrov said, adding that the decision to allow Russian citizens to visit Armenia on internal passports since February 2017 will contribute to this.

"Gradual development of dialogue between the churches makes a significant contribution to the further spiritual rapprochement between our people," Lavrov said, recalling that this year marks the 300th anniversary since the establishment of the Russian and New Nakhichevan Eparchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Another important part of the multifaceted Russian-Armenian partnership is "fruitful cooperation between diplomatic services," Lavrov said, praising "substantive and trust-based dialogue" with his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandyan. "Our talks in Moscow on February 21-23, 2017 confirmed that the approaches to key issues of today’s world coincide or are very close," he said.