Negotiations between Armenia and Russia around natural gas, which have been conducted since 2011, are finally over, the agreement has been signed, but events around the matter are still developing.
Through a complex system of agreements Armenia and Russia came to the conclusion that Armenia will continue to receive natural gas at the border for $189 per 1,000 cubic meters, in exchange for this the Armenian government gave Gazprom the remaining 20-percent stake in the local gas distribution company, ArmRosgazprom. In July it was announced that Russia had raised gas prices to $270, and the Armenian government undertook to compensate 30 percent of the price.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia on December 2 proved saturated and symbolic both by the number of events and the number of statements on the ‘takeover’ of more of Yerevan’s sovereignty by Moscow.
Putin’s visit to the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri was to demonstrate that Russia will retain its military presence in Armenia. Moreover, Putin said that Russia will not withdraw from the South Caucasus and will build up its presence here.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Armenia begins today and is taking place a few days after the Vilnius summit of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership at which Armenia and Ukraine refused to sign an association agreement with the 28-nation bloc.
After September 3 when Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated about Armenia’s desire to join the Russian-led Customs Union, analysts’ opinions about the future of Armenia’s relations with the Western community have been divided.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will personally attend the summit of EU Eastern Partnership and the European People’s Party in Vilnius, Lithuania, which is scheduled for November 28-29. This information was spread by the president’s press office Tuesday evening.
The historic agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear program that was reached between the Islamic Republic and six leading world powers after days of talks in Geneva on Sunday has been taken as ‘good news’ in Yerevan. What was announced as the “first-step” agreement essentially limits Iran’s uranium enrichment in exchange for the West’s unblocking Tehran’s nearly $8 billion and lifting some sanctions earlier imposed on Iran’s oil exports.
Just a week before the European Union’s Eastern Partnership summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, under apparent pressure from Moscow, Ukraine has decided to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the European Union, citing the need to develop economic relations with Russia and former Soviet countries.
On November 19 the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, held their first meeting in nearly two years. The two leaders did not make any comments for the press following their talks in Vienna, Austria, that lasted for about two hours. Moreover, they did not exchange handshakes in front of photo cameras which is usually protocol during such high-level meetings. The statement issued by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs (representing the United States, Russia and France), in fact, contained only one specific information – there will be a new meeting in a few months.
On November 18 Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian paid a visit to Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The same day, the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, left for Vienna to meet, after nearly a two-year break, with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. The two Caucasus leaders will discuss the Karabakh settlement, which international mediators have unsuccessfully tried to take forward during the last two decades.
After a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk on Thursday the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the application for the participation of Armenia in the Eurasian integration process. They signed a draft decision “On the Republic of Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation”, the Statement on the participation of the Republic of Armenia in the Eurasian integration process and the Memorandum on deepening cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Commission.