Bilateral Cooperation & International Relations

Armenia’s Pashinyan: State does not create problems in trade with Iran Armenia’s Pashinyan: State does not create problems in trade with Iran
/Dec 22/News.am/

The Iran-related difficulties of the banking system operating in Armenia are not related to the activities of any state department; the reason is the concerns of private companies.

The Acting Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, on Saturday noted the aforementioned while responding to journalists’ questions, in Vanadzor.

He said they had informed the banks in Armenia that the US government sees no problem in terms of remittances by way of private individuals. But, as per Pashinyan, since banks are private companies, they are careful so as not to be “blacklisted.”

Nonetheless, the acting PM noted that the Armenian government continues to engage in dialogue with these banks to explain to them that if no sanction is imposed on a specific person, it is unnecessary to limit his banking activities.

“They [the banks] ask us: ‘If we go for some operations and have financial problems, will you recompense for our problems? Obligate yourselves to recompense for our problems, and we will operate without worries,’” Pashinyan said. “But you understand that the state can’t assume some uncertain and unknown obligations there.”


Armenia isn't refusing to meet with Zas, candidate for CSTO sec gen – Pashinyan
/Dec 22/Interfax – Russia & CIS General Newswire/

Armenia has not rejected the possibility of meeting with Belarusian Security Committee State Secretary Stanislav Zas, who is a candidate for the position of the secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Saturday.

"We have not rejected [the possibility]. We said that we see no need in a meeting at the current stage. Discussions are ongoing. We have always said that this issue should be resolved on the basis of a consensus," Pashinyan told reporters.

"The maintenance of the CSTO is much important than the position of secretary general," he said.

The position of secretary general became vacant after Armenia recalled its representative, Yury Khachaturov, halfway into his three-year tenure. Russia's Valery Semerikov, the deputy secretary general, was appointed acting secretary general.

In July, a court in Yerevan decided to arrest Khachaturov on counts of attempting to overthrow the constitutional system of Armenia in 2008 and then released him on bail.

In early November, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said after a session of the CSTO Collective Security Council that according to the charter, the next secretary general should be from Belarus. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed this later.

However, Yerevan continues to insist that an Armenian representative should be the new CSTO secretary general until 2020.

It was reported on Friday that Lukashenko signed a draft decision of the CSTO Collective Security Council to appoint Zas secretary general of the organization.

Stanislav Zas said he hopes to become the CSTO secretary general with unanimous support and start working in 2019.

"Not all of the formalities have yet been finalized. I think all of the judicial formalities will be finalized before the end of this year or within the first few days of next year, and I will begin working in my new post," the Belarusian state news agency BelTA quoted Zas as saying.
 

All CSTO members, except for Armenia, approve Stanislav Zas as new CSTO secretary general
/Dec 25/ARKA/

YEREVAN – A spokesman for the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Vladimir Zaynetdinov said today that Stanislav Zas, nominated by Belarus to replace former CSTO secretary general Yuri Khachaturov, had traveled to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and the Russian Federation to meet their leaders, who supported his candidacy.
Zaynetdinov said Zas did not have a meeting only with Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. He said their meeting has been postponed to a later date.
On December 21 Pashinyan’s press secretary Arman Yeghoyan said that Nikol Pashinyan was not ready to meet with Zas as a candidate for the post of CSTO secretary general.
Zaynetdinov said also that ‘pursuant to the instructions of the Chairman of the Collective Security Council (CSC) of the CSTO, the CSTO secretariat prepared draft decisions of the CSTO Ministerial Council and the CSC on the appointment of Zas as secretary general of the CSTO and sent them to the CSTO member countries for their approval.
The turmoil in the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was triggered by Armenia’s decision in early November to recall Yuri Khachaturov, a former chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, who had been serving as CSTO secretary general. In Armenia Khachaturov had been charged with involvement in the violent crackdown on the opposition in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election in 2008. Armenia insists that the position should be held by its representative until the end of Khachaturov’s term, which ends in mid-2019. 
During a November 8 CSTO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan and Belarus insisted that the rotating position be handed to Belarus, which is next in the list of the countries to assume the position by alphabetical order. 
Leaders of the CSTO were supposed to solve the secretary general question in St. Petersburg on December 6. But two days before the gathering a Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said the meeting would be postponed into 2019 at Armenia’s request, which was holding snap elections on December 9.
However, Arman Yeghoyan denied Ushakov saying Armenia had not asked for a postponement. In his words, it was Russian President Vladimir Putin that had proposed it.
 

Putin expects Russian-Armenian trade to keep growing
/Dec 27/Public Radio of Armenia/

Putin congratulates Pashinyan on "convincing victory" 

The leaders of Armenia and Russia have discussed key issues on bilateral agenda.

The relations between Armenia and Russia are truly allied, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting during Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

“Enough to say that we confidently maintain the first place among Armenia’s foreign economic partners, Putin said, adding that the turnover with Russia accounts for 25.5 percent.

“Over 2,000 enterprises are operating – 2,200 to be precise. Trade is growing. Last year it went up by almost 30 percent – 29.7 percent, I believe. In the first ten months of this year it increased by almost another 18 percent – 17.5 percent,” the Russian President said.

He hailed the dynamics and stressed the need to maintain it.

“We will do all we can to keep relations at this level, and not only in trade but also in other areas. I am referring to security and our cooperation in the CSTO as well as our versatile cooperation in the Eurasian Economic Union,” Putin said.

The Russian President also congratulated the Armenian PM on his convincing victory in the recent parliamentary elections.

Armenian PM has lost count of his meeting with Putin 

Nikol Pashinyan, in turn, said he has lost count of his meetings with Putin.

“But at the airport, the protocol team told me I was one of the most frequently visiting foreign leaders to the Russian Federation, or rather I was in the top three. I am sure this underlines the context of our special strategic relationship,” he said.

He voiced confidence that the dynamics of the bilateral relations would continue.

“We are also looking forward to your official visit to Armenia next year. We will be pleased to see you,” Pashinyan stated.

“Our political and economic relations are certainly growing. It is gratifying to see the growing interest from Russian tourists in Armenia. This means that people are not only interested, but that Russian tourists are well received, and feel at home in Armenia,” Armenia’s acting PM said.

He added that this emphasises the depth of the bilateral relations, not only political and economic, but also human relations, and cultural ties.

“We intend to develop our relations in all areas. I am confident that the newly elected parliament will also develop bilateral parliamentary relations with Russia. We are also positive about further economic relations,” Pashinyan said.

He pledged the commitment to further integration as part of the Eurasian Economic Union and added that “we take Armenia’s EAEU presidency very seriously.”


Armenia, Russia should preserve cooperation in the sidelines of CSTO – Putin
/Dec 27/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – Official Moscow and Yerevan should cooperate in the sphere of security in the sidelines of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and other integration unions, ARMENPRESS reports, citing “Ria Novosti”, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a meeting with acting PM of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan.

“I think there is a positive dynamic, and it should be preserved. We are ready to do that and will do everything possible to preserve such a high level of relations not only in that sphere (economy), but also other directions. I mean also the security sphere and our cooperation in the sidelines of the CSTO”, Putin said.

Pashinyan noted that Armenia is interested in developing relations with Russia in all the directions and has positive approach towards integration in the sidelines of the EAEU.


Rafik Mansour: There is open discourse between US and Armenia Rafik Mansour: There is open discourse between US and Armenia
/Dec 28/News.am/

YEREVAN. – Hayk Marutyan, the mayor of capital city Yerevan, received Chargé d’Affaires Rafik Mansour of the US Embassy in Armenia.

The mayor noted that the high level of Armenian-American relations was reflected also in the active cooperation between the cities of the two countries, the Yerevan Municipality informed Armenian News-NEWS.am.

Also, Marutyan pointed to the priorities of Yerevan, and expressed the hope that there will be opportunities for exchange of knowhow with American cities, with respect to these priorities.

US Chargé d’Affaires Mansour, for his part, said the Armenia-US friendship had a very long history, and stated that there is an open discourse between the two countries.

The interlocutors agreed to continue the mutual contacts between Yerevan and the US embassy.


Nikol Pashinyan, Vladimir Putin discuss institutional solutions on CSTO
/Dec 28/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Strategic essence and content of the Collective Security Treaty Organization were briefly discussed at the meeting between Armenian Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pashinyan said Thursday night in his live address to Armenian people on his Facebook page upon his return from Moscow.  
“Our stance is that we need institutional solutions here to make in the CSTO regulations the amendments foreseeing such situations for avoiding such disputes caused by the lack of coordination,” Pashinyan said. 
The turmoil in the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was triggered by Armenia’s decision in early November to recall Yuri Khachaturov, a former chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, who had been serving as CSTO secretary general. In Armenia Khachaturov had been charged with involvement in the violent crackdown on the opposition in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election in 2008. Armenia insists that the position should be held by its representative until the end of Khachaturov’s term, which ends in mid-2019. 
During a November 8 CSTO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan and Belarus insisted that the rotating position be handed to Belarus, which is next in the list of the countries to assume the position by alphabetical order.
 

Armenia’s acting premier says he discussed bilateral ties, gas at meeting with Putin
/Dec 28/TASS/

YEEREVAN – Armenia’s acting prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, said he discussed the strategy of bilateral relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their talks in Moscow on December 27.

The Armenian premier’s visit to Russia and meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 27 was the first since his bloc won presidential elections in Armenia on December 9. Pashinyan’s bloc will control 88 out 132 seats in the country’s parliament.

"Our talks concerned the strategy of our further relations. I would like to stress that we have total understanding on the matter. This meeting was to sum up the results of our previous conversations. The talks were held in a very positive atmosphere," Pashinyan said in a live broadcast on his Facebook page.

"Armenia and Russia have special relations, which are of strategic nature," Pashinyan added.

Gas issue

Pashinyan said after his visit to Moscow that he hoped to eventually reach consensus with Moscow on the price of Russian gas.

"I would like to inform that no final decision has been made regarding the price for Russian gas. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic and I hope that we achieve the intended result, or, at least, avoid the negative scenario," Pashinyan said in a live broadcast on his Facebook page.

Pashinyan added that the issue of gas remains "very sensitive for bilateral relations."

Armenia’s authorities have repeatedly said that they were negotiating a reduction of prices for natural gas with the Russian side. Natural gas is supplied to Armenia by Gazprom’s subsidiary Gazprom Armenia.

In early 2016, Armenia asked Russia to reduce the gas price from $165 to $150 per 1,000 cubic meters. This year, Armenia purchased Russian gas at this price and charged consumers nearly twice as much – $290 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Russian gas deliveries to the country stood at 1.87 billion cubic meters in 2016, and at 2 billion cubic meters in 2017.
 

WikiLeaks: U.S. Embassy in Armenia ordered a mobile forensics device
/Dec 24/PanArmenian/

WikiLeaks has recently published the "U.S. Embassy Shopping List" database, according to which a mobile forensics device called Cell Phone Analyzer has been ordered to be delivered to a U.S. diplomatic facility in Yerevan, Armenia.

The papers revealed more than 16,000 procurement requests by U.S. embassies around the globe.

According to a purchase request made in April 2016 from the American Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main, the device ordered for Armenia is able to decode "apps data, passwords, emails, call history, SMS, contacts, calendar, media files, location information, etc.", as well as can perform "foreign — language translation of content from extraction".

Also, the Cell Phone Analyzer can get "access to locked devices by bypassing, revealing or disabling the user lock code."

Another purchase request completed in November 2016 from Frankfurt am Main, included a list of various items such as "software and hardware solutions for forensic examination of mobile phones", "laboratory tool and hardware solutions for forensic examination of mobile phones", "software for expert evaluation and data analysis" from computers to be delivered to the US Embassy in Podgorica, Montenegro.

Advertisement