Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence on Wednesday Russia and Armenia will further deepen their already close relations “deeply rooted in history.”
In a letter that congratulated President Serzh Sarkisian on Armenia’s Independence Day, Putin said Russian-Armenian ties are being “enriched with promising projects in different sectors.” They are also cemented by the two countries’ membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), he wrote.
“I am convinced that with joint efforts we will ensure further development of the whole complex of strategic relations and constructive cooperation on addressing pressing issues of regional and international relevance. This undoubtedly is in the best interests of the fraternal peoples of our two countries,” added the Russian leader.
Putin congratulated Sarkisian as Russian soldiers marched in an Armenian military parade held in Yerevan on the 25th anniversary of a 1991 referendum in which the vast majority of Armenians voted for independence from the disintegrating Soviet Union. Russia has kept a military base in Armenia ever since the Soviet collapse.
Putin and Sarkisian most recently met in Moscow in early August for talks that reportedly focused on the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Moscow took the lead in international efforts to bolster the ceasefire regime in the conflict zone and revive Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks following heavy fighting around Karabakh that broke out in early April.
Putin hosted a meeting of Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Saint Petersburg in June. Aliyev and Sarkisian hinted afterwards at progress towards the conflict’s resolution, fueling media speculation that they are under pressure to accept a Russian peace plan. Neither side has reported further progress in recent weeks, however.
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande reaffirmed his “commitment to finding a fair and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” in a congratulatory message sent to Sarkisian on the occasion.
“As I had the opportunity to tell you during our Warsaw meeting on July 9, I am ready to host a meeting in Paris with a view to consolidate the ongoing peace process and discuss measures to resolve this extremely lengthy conflict,” Hollande wrote, according to Sarkisian’s office.
The French president appeared to refer to his offer to organize another meeting of Aliyev and Sarkisian this year. No agreements on the proposed summit have been reached yet.