On Monday (20 September), the prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, received the deputy prime minister of Russia, Alexei Overchuk, in Yerevan. Overchuk – who is Russia’s representative on the Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia trilateral working group, tasked with opening transport communications in the region following last year’s 44-day war – was in the Armenian capital for the Armenian-Russian business forum.
Welcoming the deputy prime minister, Pashinyan noted that he hoped the forum would help attract new Russian investments into Armenia, expressing his particular interest in the involvement of Russian businessmen of Armenian origin, “especially now when we are in the post-war recovery phase”. The Armenian leader also expressed hope that the men could discuss the progress of the trilateral working group during Overchuk’s visit, adding “as I have mentioned several times, we are very interested in the opening of communications, as we see it as an opportunity to overcome the blockade of Armenia, in which, unfortunately, we have been for more than 25 years”. He also stated the importance of a prospective Russian-Armenian train connection, “which will open new opportunities for the development of our economy and our integration into the Eurasian Economic Union”.
According to the Armenian readout, thanking Pashinyan for taking the time to meet, the Russian deputy prime minister noted that it was the first time that a Russian business forum had been held in Armenia. He said that he and the Armenian deputy prime minister, Mher Grigoryan, had spent the day going around important roundtables on the development of infrastructure, transport, energy, environment, and innovation, where important contacts were being made. He said that there were some really great opportunities and that the event was being attended by representatives of the Russian development institutes. “This whole toolkit can really work to make our economic ties more effective, to develop them, to raise economic relations between Russia and Armenia to the level they should be”, he added.
The interlocutors reportedly exchanged views on a range of issues.