Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian praised the “steadily developing” agenda of cooperation between Yerevan and Moscow as he congratulated his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on his 61st birthday on Monday.
In the message published by Sarkisian’s press office, the Armenian leader, in particular, emphasized Putin’s personal contribution to the strengthening of Armenian-Russian cooperation as well as the importance of “trust-based personal relations” formed between the two countries’ leaders.
“Thanks to it [this relationship] the agenda of our cooperation is developing steadily and is becoming enriched with important agreements in the political sphere, as well as with joint projects in the trade, economic, scientific, technical, cultural and humanitarian spheres,” wrote Sarkisian.
The Armenian president also pointed out “constructive cooperation” between Armenia and Russia on a wide range of international and regional issues within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Moscow-led defense pact of six former Soviet nations, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, a looser alliance of former Soviet allies formed in the wake of the USSR’s collapse, as part of Eurasian integration processes and other multilateral formats.
This cooperation, said Sarkisian, provides “even broader opportunities for the full development of our strategic partnership.” “I am confident that consistent implementation of the reached agreements, our joint initiatives will continue to contribute to the consolidation of the fraternal friendship of the peoples of our countries and serve the purpose of strengthening regional stability and security,” the Armenian leader concluded.
Armenia, a major political and military ally of Moscow in the South Caucasus, announced last month its decision to join the Custom Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and further move towards forming a new Eurasian Economic Union with other former Soviet allies.
The announcement came as a surprise to many partners of Armenia in the West with which Yerevan had been negotiating an agreement that would allow it to become associated with the European Union and form a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) with the 28-nation bloc.
Officials in Brussels have indicated that membership in the Customs Union is incompatible with DCFTA, which is part of a broader Association Agreement, but the political leadership in Yerevan still hopes to get at least a watered-down version of the deal signed at the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in late November.
Addressing the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg last week President Sarkisian said that Armenia has suggested signing an Association Agreement with the EU envisaging mainly political reforms.
“And we are not only ready but also determined to carry out those reforms in our country. This process is now underway,” he said. “We will participate in the Vilnius summit, and our expectation is to make some changes in the negotiated document by that time.”