YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Tuesday described as “very productive” his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin which was held in Sochi on Monday.
“We discussed a very broad range of issues and it was a very productive meeting,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He declined to elaborate.
Pashinian confirmed that the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh was also on the agenda of the talks with Putin. “It was a general discussion. We didn’t really go into details,” he said.
In his opening remarks at the talks, the Armenian premier, who took office on May 8, reaffirmed his commitment to maintaining “strategic allied relations” with Russia. “I can assure you that there is basically a consensus on this issue in Armenia, and nobody has cast doubt and, I think, will cast doubt on the strategic importance of Russian-Armenian relations,” he said.
For his part, Putin told Pashinian that he regards Armenia as “our closest partner and ally in the region” and hopes Russian-Armenia ties will “develop as steadily as has been the case until now.”
“I want to wish you success in the post of the head of government,” Putin told Pashinian in his opening remarks at their first-ever face-to-face talks. “I hope that our relations will develop as steadily as has been the case until now and we will be working together just as actively in the international arena, in international organizations … in the area of security and in the area of economic development.”
Russia continues to regard Armenia as “our closest partner and ally in the region,” he said, pointing to close defense and security ties as well as economic cooperation between the two nations.
Putin went on to praise recent years’ rapid growth in bilateral trade and, in particular, Armenian exports to Russia. He said he hopes that Yerevan and Moscow will “not only preserve but also multiply” that “very good dynamics.”
Neither the Kremlin nor the Armenian government issued any statements on the results of the Putin-Pashinian encounter which took place in the presence of other senior Armenian and Russian officials.
The two leaders met in the Russian Black Sea city just hours before a summit of the five former Soviet republics making up the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
“It’s an interesting format,” Pashinian said when asked about his impressions of the EEU summit in Sochi. “It was very interesting.”