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  5. Sarkisian Discusses Armenia, Russia Relations in Interview

Sarkisian Discusses Armenia, Russia Relations in Interview

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“Our partners in Baku should finally realize that Armenia and the [OSCE Minsk Group] Co-Chairing states speak the same language that there is no alternative to negotiations; war is not a way to resolve a conflict. Thereby not ultimatums but only a dialogue may bring about peace,” President of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian said in Russia’s Izvestiya newspaper on Tuesday.

The article, entitled “Security and sustainable democratic development,” reflects on Armenia’s challenges and achievements seen in the course of 25 years of independence, focusing on the formation of the strong and well-established army, the consistently improving business and investment environment, military-technical cooperation and allied relations with Russia as well as the need for the peaceful settlement of the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic issue.

“Armenia, as the guarantor of the security of the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, continues its consistent and constructive efforts in the OSCE Minsk Group format toward finding peaceful ways for the conflict settlements,” wrote Sarkisian.

He pointed that the April War unleashed by Azerbaijani in 2016 caused “considerable damage” to the negotiation process and the efforts to create an atmosphere of trust for the sides.

“The escalation across the Line of Contact overnight to February 24-25 2017 comes to demonstrate once again the importance of the implementation of the agreements about establishing mechanisms for the monitoring of the violations of the ceasefire regime reached in Vienna and Saint Petersburg,” said Sarkisian.

In the President’s assessment, the consensus formed for long years among the Minsk Group Co-Chairing countries, namely – Russia, France, and the United States speaks of the constructive platform established among these states within the Minsk Group format.

“We believe that the right to master one’s own destiny is an unquestionable component in the current world order,” Sarkisian noted, adding the Artsakh Republic is a stable, democratic state, where competitive elections are held pursuant to its Electoral Code and the Constitution and democratic state institutions are developing.

“Armenian army is one of the strongest and capable armies in the region,” the President said ahead of his official visit to the Russia on Tuesday.

“Because of ongoing threats of physical destruction of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and territorial claims to Armenia, we are paying close attention to strengthening of the country’s defense capacity. It is not surprising that one of the first well-established state institutions in our country was the army, which has long been considered one of the strongest and most capable armies in the region,” Sarkisian said.

He added that today, 25 years after its formation, the Armenian armed forces continue to improve, strengthening their operational capabilities and acquiring modern weapons.

Russia is one of the main investors in Armenia’s economy and a key trade partner, he added, and that they are top investors for sectors such as energy, transport, metallurgy, and telecommunications.

The sides plan to further broaden cooperation, working on innovative ways of boosting economic ties, he added, highlighting the positive effect Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has had.

“After joining the EAEU, our economic and trade potential has significantly increased, given that we gained access to the 180-million strong consumer market of the member states,” the President said.

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