(AP/Itar-Tass) - Boosting trade between the two former Soviet republics topped the agenda at Friday's meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharian.
Putin said that trade has increased 34 percent in recent years. "This is a record indicator that we are moving toward the right direction," Putin said.
Kocharian recalled the major agreement last year under which Armenia ceded financial control over its only nuclear power plant to Russia's state-controlled electricity monopoly in exchange for the cancellation of US$40 million debts to Russian nuclear fuel suppliers. The start of true economic cooperation came with that "major agreement of debt-for-property," Kocharian said.
"I would like to say with utmost confidence that we started and are moving together on all issues."
The meeting took place on the second day of Kocharian’s working visit to Moscow which also included meetings with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and the chief executive of the Gazprom natural gas giant, Aleksei Miller.
Kocharian welcomed recent years’ increase in bilateral commercial ties which is epitomized by the Russian-Armenian equities-for-debt deals. "Until recently, we only talked about military cooperation while mentioning that economic interaction is lagging behind," he said. "Now I can state with full confidence that we began to move in all directions very synchronously. It serves as a very serious impetus to effective cooperation and its diversification."