16:57 04.02.2013
Tigran Sargsyan

Achievements of 2012

The Armenian political system proved its viability, Armenian Prime
Minister Tigran Sargsyan said in an interview with "Moskovskiye
Novosti," adding that this was reflected in the parliamentary
elections, which were assessed by international observers as the most
democratic in the modern history of Armenia.

According to the Prime Minister, the economic activity was very high:
the GDP growth exceeded 7%, which is one of the best indicators on
post-Soviet space. "This is a serious figure, if we take into
consideration that Armenia is situated in a geopolitically vulnerable
position - I mean the relations with some neighbors and unsolved

Tigran Sargsyan said this became possible first of all thanks to the
government's anti-crisis program targeted at diversification of
economy, real support to the industry and investments in high-tech

Customs Union

Speaking about the likelihood of Armenia's joining the Customs Union,
the Prime Minister said: "The Armenian economic system considerably
differs from that of the countries of the Customs Union, which have
huge energy resources and where the interests of local producers are
protected with rather high customs duties. On the average, the customs
duties in the Union are twice as high as in Armenia. Armenia was one
of the first countries in the CIS to join the World Trade
Organization, and this gives certain specifics to our relations with
the Customs Union. Therefore, it's necessary to find a formula and
most effective tools of our cooperation."

"At the same time we have said on many occasions that Armenia is
interested in integration processes in the CIS and is ready to
stimulate them, as on one hand Russia is our strategic partner, on the
other hand - this is a large and promising market, and we must create
favorable conditions for doing business on this space," Tigran
Sargsyan said.

Armenian-Russian relations

Armenian Russian relations represent an allied partnership based on a
firm ground of historic affinity between the peoples of out two
countries, the Armenian Prime Minister said.

"We see that Russia is interested in having a strong partner in the
Caucasus in the face of Armenia. Russia is the first largest investor
in our economy, not even speaking about cooperation in the military
sphere," Tigran Sargsyan said.

Armenia's relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan

Speaking about the perspectives of the peaceful settlement of the
Nagorno Karabakh conflict, PM Tigran Sargsyan said "it depends on the
political will of Azerbaijan."

"Armenia has always had a constructive position in the negotiation
process, which consists of searching for a mutually acceptable
solution through negotiations. Unfortunately, our neighbors are not
ready for it."

"As for Turkey, the situation is as follows: Armenia started talks
with Turkey on the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening
of the border without preconditions. The negotiations culminated in
the signing of two protocols, which were to be ratified by the
parliaments of the two countries. Armenia declared its willingness to
do so, while Turkey froze the process. Therefore, the ball is now in
Turkey's court. It's hard to say whether the issue will move from a
dead point in the near future or not. Here one can feel the strong
influence of Azerbaijan, which demands from Turkey to conduct a policy
targeted at isolating Armenia," Tigran Sargsyan stated.

Information Technologies

"The sphere of information technologies is very promising. We signed a
number of important agreements in the Silicon Valley, namely the
creation of a venture fund in Armenia, attraction of trans-national
corporations to Armenia. The government actively supports the
initiatives in the IT field, and many transnational companies view
Armenia as a regional IT center. Synopsis Microsoft, National
Instruments, D-Link, Intel, IBM have either opened their offices in
Armenia or are in talks with Armenia on the formats of cooperation,"
PM Tigran Sargsyan said.

He reminded that Armenia has signed an agreement on the establishment
of a chip-producing factory in Armenia, has opened its representation
in the Silicon Valley.

"This is a promising direction for Armenia, especially considering our
geographic position, geopolitical risks, restricted opportunities of
cargo shipment," he added.

Armenian chess

"Armenia is a chess superpower. Our team has won the Olympics thrice,
leaving behind the teams of China, Russia, India and the US. Two years
ago we implemented the compulsory introduction of chess in all 1,400
schools. The point is not that we want to grow as many grandmasters as
possible. Chess helps build strategy, develop tactical schemes and
make decisions. This is an important tool for the development of
analytical thinking," Tigran Sargsyan said.

Armenian cognac

Winston Churchill preferred the Armenian cognac to all other drinks.

Which are the preferences of the Armenian Prime Minister?

"It depends on where, when, with whom and why," Tigran Sargsyan said.

"Cognac is the best drink to conclude a hearty dinner. I like strong
drinks. It's not surprising that Winston Churchill was a fan of
Armenian brandy, as it is a drink for real men," he added.


From: Baghdasarian