Working visit of President Serzh Sargsyan to the Russian Federation
The meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State took place today in Sochi, attended by President Serzh Sargsyan, who earlier today arrived in the Russian Federation on a working visit. The meeting was presided over by Vladimir Putin, the President of the host country. Issues related to the further development of cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres and other key areas of CIS activities have been discussed at the meeting.
In a narrow format, the Heads of State exchanged views on cooperation within the framework of the CIS. They also discussed issues related to CIS presidency, as well as the date and venue of the next regular meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State.
The expanded meeting focused on the joint efforts in economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres, defense policy, external borders protection, countering terrorism, as well as the challenges arising from the Commonwealth’s adaptation to new realities.
CIS Executive Committee Chairman-Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev presented the outcome of discussions held in both narrow and extended formats. He provided mass media with information on the documents signed at the meeting.
Later today, the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council is due to meet in Sochi.
Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the meeting of CIS Council of Heads of StateDear Mr. Chairman,
Dear Heads of State and Delegations!
First of all, I wish to thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, for the traditionally warm welcome and hospitality, and for organizing the summit at such a high level.
The agenda of today’s meeting, as well as the list of issues included in it reflects the effectiveness of the active chairmanship of the Russian Federation in the Commonwealth, primarily aimed at the furtherance of the CIS, considering its adaptation to contemporary realities.
I would like to dwell on a number of issues that seem to be topical from our point of view as regards the Commonwealth and interstate cooperation. We have initiated several substantive discussions on a number of issues reflected in last year’s decision on adaptation. We support this process, which should be reflected in the cooperation of States interested in all possible areas of interaction.
Another important area of joint work is cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. We support the Statement “On support of the family and traditional family values” as proposed by the Russian side, well aware that the institution of the family is the basis of society and a cohesive factor for peoples.
Being interested in expanding cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, we believe that the Cultural Capitals interstate program is a useful initiative in terms of preserving and developing cultural ties between CIS countries.
Next year the Armenian city of Goris is due to be proclaimed as the cultural capital of the Commonwealth. We are now inviting the representatives of CIS countries to the events that will be held throughout the year in that beautiful part of Syunik Marz of Armenia.
I also want to emphasize the significance of the Year of Book due in 2019 and the Year of the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War in 2020.
Five years ago, in connection with the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing, UNESCO proclaimed Yerevan the world capital of the book - an event that we widely celebrated with the participation of guests, including from the CIS countries.
Prioritizing the development of human capital, we set the broadening of the scope of book readers as the leitmotif of numerous events, since the availability of a reading and developed society is crucial for us.
I am sure that the forthcoming celebration of Great Victory anniversary is another reason to honor the memory of those who died in the fight against fascism. In Armenia, there is no family to have been spared by this tragedy: every second Armenian front-line soldier never returned home. It is also a good opportunity to jointly oppose attempts to reanimate the ideology of fascism, the spread of xenophobia and racism in the world.
Armenia has repeatedly stressed the need for the international community to oppose a united front to such phenomena as international terrorism, extremism and organized crime. I support the adoption of relevant documents streamlining CIS countries’ joint efforts in the fight against money laundering, financing of terrorism, drug trafficking and other cross-border crimes.
In conclusion, I would like to wish good luck to our Tajik colleagues and, personally, to President Emomali Rahmon, who is taking over the chairmanship in the Commonwealth, and to express our willingness to assist them with the implementation of all planned actions in the best interest of CIS nations.
President Serzh Sargsyan, who was in Sochi on a working visit, was taking part in the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
The meeting was attended by the Presidents of EAEU Member States: the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic and Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Tigran Sargsyan. Issues related to information communications, customs regulations, competition, natural monopolies and industrial cooperation, as well as international activities were included in the meeting’s agenda.
A pivotal topic was the discussion of the main directions for implementation of the digital agenda of the Eurasian Economic Union up to 2025. The meeting outlined the main directions of the Union’s international activities in 2018. The Presidents were informed about the process of ratification of the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union, which will come into force on January 1, 2018.
The members of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council got acquainted with the status of competition in cross-border markets and the report of the Eurasian Economic Commission on the measures taken to prevent violations of the general rules of competition in 2016.
The meeting also discussed the Eurasian Economic Council’s recommendation on the development of a “road map” for gradual harmonization of the national laws regulating natural monopolies. Another issue on the agenda was the cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Union Member States in the field of space and geo-informational services based on national sources of remote sensing data. The Heads of State were expected to approve the nominees to the posts of the chairman of the Court of the Eurasian Economic Union and his deputy.
A key agenda item was the chairmanship in the Union bodies - the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council and the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council
Dear members of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council,
Dear participants of the meeting!
First of all, I wish to once again thank Vladimir Putin for inviting and organizing today’s summit. I also want to thank our Kyrgyz colleagues for Kyrgyzstan’s chairmanship in the Eurasian Union.
For almost three years of the Eurasian Union’s functioning, a considerable amount of work has been done to implement the principles of freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labor in the common market. The contractual and legal framework is constantly being replenished, the priorities of the Union have already been determined, joint coordination of policies in the most important sectors of the economy is being provided and the coverage of multilateral cooperation in the EAEU is consistently expanding.
For the first 7 months of this year, we have had an increase in the volume of mutual trade by about 28% as compared to the same period last year. In January-July 2017, Armenia’s exports to EAEU member countries’ markets grew by 29%. The total volume of foreign trade of member States with third countries increased by more than 26%, and Vladimir Putin cited many figures that confirm the correctness of our decision. This trend needs to be strengthened to ensure its sustainable character.
In our opinion, this calls for the following:
Firstly, we need to continue making joint efforts to not only identify, but also eliminate the existing barriers, provide the necessary prerequisites for doing business under uniform rules and regulations to ensure healthy competition.
While making efforts aimed at expanding the applicable contractual framework, we need to focus on those normative acts, which as adopted might make economic entities feel in practice the rationale behind their adoption.
Secondly, we expect that the digital agenda should help promote transparency of cooperation, increase productivity, and improve the quality of services. We share the view that matter is of paramount relevance, and we believe that it must be addressed based on the following considerations: assessing projects’ economic feasibility, their significance for the economies of our countries and the integration component; taking into account the positive experience of implementing similar projects in EAEU member States; the identification of such mutually agreed criteria as would help us assess the conformity of projects to the interests of member States and the Union, as a whole.
I believe that the processing of digital decisions can begin with the mutual recognition of electronic invoices. Since the issue of mutual recognition of invoices is cross-cutting for a number of digital initiatives, including tracking and electronic commerce, I suggest our governments work on this issue as soon as possible in cooperation with the Commission.
It is also important that all subsequent actions on the digital agenda could shield the business from potential increase in disproportionate administration and new financial burdens.
Another step towards EAEU consolidation, and this is the third consideration, is the cooperation at the international level. We proceed from the assumption that at the level of both the Union and individual nations, the interaction between various integration structures with the observance of our commitments, of course, can make an important contribution to the formation of a complementary and mutually beneficial space without dividing lines to the benefit of all States.
We are pleased to state that the EAEU-China talks on trade and economic agreement are complete in principle. This became possible thanks to our countries’ long experience of bilateral cooperation with China. We believe that this format of cooperation should contribute to the development of cooperation within the EAEU, as a whole. In the same way, the Union’s cooperation in one or another direction should enrich our countries’ bilateral relations.
We believe that the creation of a single Eurasian trade and economic space and transport corridor is possible through the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects that would promote the merger of the EAEU with the One-Zone, One-Way initiative, involving all countries of the Union. This will minimize all available infrastructural restrictions for integration, and, as a result, form a system of associated transport routes.
I would also like to confirm, and I believe it to be our common position, our drive to sign an agreement with Iran in the near future. This issue was touched upon yesterday with the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Prime Minister of Armenia during his official visit to Iran, and I understand that they are ready to continue the negotiations and conclude it in the near future.
In conclusion, I wish to inform you that yesterday the Constitutional Court of Armenia considered the Agreement on EAEU Customs Code, and the document will soon be sent to Parliament for ratification. We are hopeful that in the future as well all issues will be dealt with in a constructive manner in our countries to the benefit of our peoples and for the prosperity of our countries.