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Armenian, Russian President Discuss Bilateral Ties, EEU Integration


Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a news conference in Yerevan, 2Dec2013.

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a news conference in Yerevan, 2Dec2013.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that reportedly focused on relations between the two countries as well as integration as part of the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

A statement by the press office of the Armenian president said in the context of bilateral cooperation the two leaders, in particular, discussed issues related to the spheres of “peaceful nuclear energy, oil and natural gas.” It did not elaborate.

During the telephone conversation Sarkisian and Putin also reportedly agreed on the schedule of their upcoming meetings “within the framework of jointly participating in the events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the 70th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War.”

The main events commemorating the centennial of the start of the massacres of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey that are widely acknowledged as the first genocide of the 20th century are due to be held in Yerevan on April 24.

Moscow, in its turn, will see a large military parade in the Red Square on May 9 dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II.

Armenia joined the EEU established by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on January 2. But President Sarkisian had not been officially invited to attend the meeting of the Russian, Belarus and Kazakh leaders that was to have taken place in Astana on March 12-13.

Some local media suggested that the absence of Armenia from such a meeting would testify to the South Caucasus nation’s inferior status in the EEU. But Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun) earlier this week that the Astana meeting would mainly focus on disagreements that Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have among themselves, while Armenia, he added, did not have any differences with any of its partners individually nor with the EEU as a whole.

It later emerged that the trilateral meeting of Russia’s Putin and his Kazakh and Belarus counterparts, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Alexander Lukashenka, was postponed. No official reason was given for the postponement.

Also earlier this week the Russian president hinted at plans for a single currency to be introduced in the EEU. He reportedly instructed the Russian Central Bank and the government to work closely with the central banks of the EEU member states on the possibility of forming a monetary union in the future.

It is not clear from the report released by the Armenian president’s press office whether any of these issues were also discussed during the Sarkisian-Putin telephone conversation.

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