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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
Once again, I cordially welcome you to Moscow, to Russia.
I appreciate your active engagement in today’s meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. We spoke about that – in my view, the meeting was held at the level we expected, and we talked frankly on many issues.
We are also grateful that you agreed to the presence of the President of Azerbaijan at this event. I think it is useful at least from the point of view of developing regional economic ties, as it creates another platform and opportunity for dialogue on areas which have never been questioned.
Our bilateral cooperation in various fields continues to grow. I should note that our trade has stable and positive dynamics. Last year it grew by over 83 percent to $5 billion. It gained another $1.5 billion in the first quarter of this year. If we proceed at the same rate, we will definitely beat last year’s record.
With regard to the sensitive issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, we just discussed this with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan one-on-one.
We will also have a chance to talk in a trilateral format about unblocking the transport routes. The issues are very important and sensitive. I am sure that if we finally find solution to these issues, regardless of all the challenges, it will benefit both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and not just them but the entire region, because many countries are interested in this, and it will contribute to the normalisation of relations in all areas including politically – meaning ensuring security for the people who live in that territory.
We are very happy to be able to meet with you, not only one-on-one but also in the broader formats. I am sure it will be useful.
Go ahead, please.
Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Putin. Thank you for a warm welcome again.
It is true that the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Union was held at a high level. We discussed a broad range of issues.
You are right about the economic dynamics: the EAEU is doing well, at the very least.
At the regional level, the situation is quite tense in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor. We spoke about this a number of times today. Regrettably, contrary to the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020, Azerbaijan has illegally blocked the Lachin Corridor, which has led to a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. As you know, on top of everything else, natural gas and electricity supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh have been suspended, blocked by Azerbaijan, which is exacerbating the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. There are also problems with food and other product deliveries. Of course, Russian peacekeepers are helping us in this area, but as I have said, regrettably, the blocking of the Lachin Corridor took place in the presence of Russian peacekeepers.
Today we held a working meeting to discuss the unblocking of regional communications. I would like to reaffirm that Armenia is really interested in this. We are ready to start unblocking all transport and economic links and communications based on the sovereignty and jurisdiction of Armenia. I would like to reaffirm this stance. I reaffirm our readiness for this. Armenia’s border and customs services are ready to ensure a problem-free movement of all transport systems, including railway trains, across Armenia.
We hope that Azerbaijan’s railway system will be open to the cargoes and railway trains of the Republic of Armenia moving via Nakhichevan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran, for example. We expect this issue to be dealt with on the basis of parity, as I have said, as well as the sovereignty and jurisdictions of our countries.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Pashinyan,
You are aware of our position regarding the trilateral statement when it comes to the Lachin Corridor. We have never changed our stance on this issue. You also know that we have always acted on the basis of that stance in our discussions with our Armenian friends and Azerbaijan. Everything should be done in keeping with the letter and spirit of our trilateral statement. Our position regarding this has not changed.
As for unblocking transport links and communications – railways – and the potential construction of motorways, our position has not changed either. We also pointed this out during our bilateral meeting with the Azerbaijani delegation earlier.
It should be said that the Azerbaijani party has reaffirmed the stability of its position regarding this. They unconditionally recognise Armenia’s full sovereignty over that territory, and there are no grounds for a dual or triple interpretation of issues related to the potential unblocking of transport links.
Nevertheless, there are some issues, which you have mentioned, but I believe that they have to do with terminology. I think we can discuss this in more detail.