President Robert Kocharian
Press Conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin
September 15, 2001
ROBERT KOCHARIAN: Dear friends, we have just finished our meeting with
Vladimir Vladimirovich and the meeting between our delegations, and we have
signed some bilateral agreements. The Russian Presidents visit continues.
He has a very busy schedule today. There is also going to be a meeting between
representatives of business communities of our countries, a meeting with students
and visits to important cultural venues of Yerevan.
I would like to express my gratitude to Vladimir Vladimirovich for the mutual
understanding, for the climate that was created during our discussion of the
whole range of Armenian-Russian relations. I would like to thank members of
the Russian delegation for active participation in the preparation of this visit;
particularly, I would like to recognize the work of the Intergovernmental Committee,
which made the discussion of all issues very concrete and productive. Among
the documents we have signed, I would like to single out particularly the long-term
economic cooperation agreement until 2010 and the agreement on mutual protection
of capital investments. These agreements complement the already existing regulatory
and legal framework, whereas the long-term economic cooperation agreement makes
the cooperation between economic entities of our countries more predictable
and understandable in terms of directions that both parties consider to be priorities.
Of course, we also discussed issues of regional nature, the problem of international
terrorism and a whole range of other issues. In fact, we went through the entire
range of Armenian-Russian relations. We discussed issues of military-technical
cooperation. I was very pleased to see the Governors of Russias southern
regions included in the Russian delegation. I think we have very serious possibilities
for productive cooperation on that level. I would like to thank the Russian
President for the fact that Russia reacted to our last years drought and
sent five thousand tons of wheat to Armenia that have already started to come
in. Thank you very much for this humanitarian act, for this humanitarian gesture.
Also, thank you for the reached agreement; I can already say with confidence
that the visit has been very important, extremely important for the development
of Armenian-Russian relations. It is my pleasure now to give the floor to President
of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you very much. Dear ladies and gentlemen, first
of all I would like to thank the Armenian President and the entire Armenian
leadership for the invitation to visit Yerevan. We have completed an important
phase of our work in the capital of Armenia. We conducted negotiations on the
highest level. One can say that, having signed a declaration on allied cooperation
between the Russian Federation and Armenia, in September 2000, in Moscow, we
ensured significant progress in all areas of our cooperation. The main purpose
of todays visit is to discuss trade and economic issues. We can make maximum
use of Russias and Armenias potential in this area. This is a favorable
time for developing the area of trade and economy: as you know, there has been
a certain revitalization of economic situation, certain improvement of economic
situation in Russia. Last year 8 percent economic growth. A significant
growth this year as well; we can already be certain that the growth will be
higher than projected, significantly higher than projected.... Favorable conditions
for the development of trade and economic ties. Together with the President
of the Republic of Armenia Robert Sedrakovich Kocharian, we reached concrete
agreements. Preconditions for the establishment of Russian-Armenian enterprises
in key areas of Armenian economy will be created in the near future under the
auspices of the Intergovernmental Committee on economic cooperation. We expect
that new jobs, decently paid jobs will be created and that these enterprises
will work for the benefit of Armenian as well as Russian economies. With Robert
Sedrakovich, we signed a long-term economic cooperation agreement until 2010,
as a main document. It will become a sound legal basis for increasing our joint
business activities. Today, during our extended negotiations, the Armenian President
pointed out that the legal framework between the two countries seemed to be
rather solid; however, the agreement on protection of investments that we signed
today, which is one of the cornerstones (as they say these days) of the legal
framework of cooperation had still not been signed. Today, we filled in that
The comparison of Russias and Armenias positions on main issues
of international politics has demonstrated the communality of our views, including
our views on the key aspects of strategic stability in the world. Foreign political
cooperation between Armenia and Russia takes places on the highest level and
in the most efficient fashion, both in the UN and in the OSCE.
The negotiations have shown that Moscow and Yerevan aim at the further strengthening
of the CIS. We pay attention to the need of keeping up and developing our cooperation
within the framework of the Collective Security Agreement. I would like to express
my gratitude to Robert Sedrakovich Kocharian for his activities as Chairman
of the Collective Security Agreement to make the Agreement more efficient.
Obviously, I couldnt just leave out what had happened in the United States
of America on September 11. These tragic events made us re-evaluate the existing
collective security system. Terrorism has become the main threat of the new
century. That is why we will continue to strengthen the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center
as a tool for countering this evil. We also had a detailed discussion of the
Caucasus problems. We regard the Caucasus Four as a good model for constructing
a regional system of security and cooperation in the Caucaus.
It is clear that we couldnt ignore the Karabakh problem as well. I would
like to reiterate: Russia is prepared to play a positive role in the policy
of conflict resolution, which is currently conducted by the President of Armenia
and the President of Azerbaijan. Russia regards Armenia as a reliable partner.
The policy of strengthening and improving the whole range of Russian-Armenian
cooperation is a principle choice of not only the Russian leadership, but also
of the people of the Russian Federation. Thank you for your attention.
QUESTION: I have a question for both Presidents regarding the current
situation in the world. Do you think new means are necessary for combating international
terrorism, and what is your assessment of the current situation?
PUTIN: The situation in the world changed not because of the terrorist
acts. It changed a long time ago. But unfortunately we wouldnt notice
it. The tragic events that took place in the United States only confirmed these
changes. Of course, terrorism has become one of the main threats of the modern
world, and we cant afford not to react to it. As for the parameters of
the new security systems, this is something that will need to be discussed and
worked out. I am scheduled to meet with the President of the United States very
soon, in Shanghai; later this year I am going to pay a visit to the United States;
this month, I have a meeting with the EU leadership and in the NATO headquarters
in Brussels. We are going to discuss this problem in all these meetings. However,
I would like to warn against pinning accusations, declaring some people extremists
and blaming them for what happened. I think that the accusations that can be
heard at times, and the statements that can be heard at times that someone overlooked
the strike, someone didnt work well, overlooked it, I think these statements
are unfair. Simply, the old security system was not built to prevent threats
of that nature. We have to make conclusions based on what happened and work
out that system. I am confident everyone is interested in this. At least, Russia
KOCHARIAN: I would add the following. By the way, the Russian President
had expressed himself clearly on this issue; and even before what happened in
the United States, we had discussed that topic, as well as the threat of terrorism,
within the framework of the Collective Security Agreement. Taking into consideration
what happened, and the fact that the statements made by the leaders of major
countries are in tune with each other, I think the conceptual approach to the
fight against international terrorism will, perhaps, be developed in the near
future. The most important thing is that the events in the United States demonstrated
that no one is safe, no country is safe from this sort of attacks. I think what
we need here is consolidated efforts by all the countries.
QUESTION: In connection with the current situation, is it possible that
Armenia and Russia would participate in military operations against international
PUTIN: Of course, we should not liken ourselves to the bandits that strike
from behind. We have to weigh our decisions and take them on the basis of real
facts, reliable facts that we have. I am absolutely convinced that the evil
should be punished. I have no doubts about that. As for Armenias and Russias
direct participation in any actions against terrorism, I have already said that
we think we can solve such issues on the regional level within the framework
of the recently established CIS Anti-Terrorism Center.
QUESTION: My question is for the Russian President. Vladimir Vladimirovich,
what additional efforts can Russia make in the interests of the Karabakh problem
PUTIN: This is a problem we have inherited from the past. It was not
us who created that problem. First, it concerns the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan,
and it is these people and the leaders of these countries that need to find
a solution to this very difficult problem. Russia would support any solution
acceptable to both countries and is prepared to play a role of a guarantor.
QUESTION: There has been a lot of talk about giving Russia some enterprises
or part of their shares as a way of settling Armenias debt to Russia.
Have you reached an agreement on this issue? If so, has the list of enterprises
been finalized? This question is for both Presidents.
KOCHARIAN: This subject was first voiced last year, during my official
visit to the Russian Federation. This subject was worked on, but unfortunately
it did not come to a conclusion. But the idea is quite clear: there is a debt,
there is a desire for economic cooperation, for making this cooperation more
active, and perhaps the shortest and the most effective way of getting there
is to put together both the debt and the interest of large Russian businesses
towards the Armenian economy and try to solve that problem on a mutually beneficial
basis. I think the Intergovernmental Committees work allowed us to have
a more concrete assessment of the situation, and I am much more optimistic now
that this issue will be settled either fully or partially in the near future.
We must keep in mind that we are talking about a mutually beneficial deal, and
not about solving the problem of one side at the expense of the other. This
means that the business, private business that will enter the Armenian economy
with this program, has to see its interest, has to see that this deal is in
the interests of that business, whereas we have to see that it is in the interests
of the Armenian economy. I would repeat that the parameters of this solution
are already in sight. I think we will be able to speak more concretely about
some positions by the end of the year.
PUTIN: You are probably familiar with the debate in Russia and the CIS
countries in the beginning of the 90s and in the mid-90s, when we were deciding
the ways of attracting foreign capital in the economy of our countries. Today,
thank God, the hysteria about the selling the Motherland has finished. Everyone
understands that attraction of foreign capital is an entry into the economy
of Europe and the entire civilized world. Robert Sedrakovich Kocharian is a
very progressive man; he has an excellent understanding of the laws of development
of modern economy. He was the initiator of closer cooperation between the economies
of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia. The issue here is not
really the debt. The issue is not the debt at all: the issue is to attract the
attention of Russian business and the Russian capital into Armenian economy.
This is, really, the essence of Kocharians proposal. We understand this
very well, and we share his position. We think this is right. The issue is to
choose the perspective directions. Robert Sedrakovich didnt say everything.
Today, particularly when we were discussing this issue in a private meeting,
we talked about concrete enterprises and concrete directions and areas of the
economy. I am not prepared to say right now that tomorrow a Russian company
will enter one or another of the enterprises with a certain volume of investments,
but the negotiations on this issue are very focused on concrete facilities and
concrete topics. I hope we can inform you of decisions by the end of this year.
KOCHARIAN: I would like add. You know, there was an opinion in our press
that Russia is forcing the solution of this problem on us. Even some international
financial institutions were asking whether this is true, whether this deal will
be in Armenias interests. I would like to state with all certainty that
this was our proposal. No one is trying to force us to do anything in this regard.
The idea is to attract Russian investments into Armenian economy.