Interviews and press conferences

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's interview with Egemen Qazaqstan and Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspapers


Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave an interview to the Kazakh newspapers Egemen Qazaqstan and Kazakhstanskaya Pravda. Below is the full interview of the Prime Minister of Armenia.

Question - This year marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Kazakhstan and Armenia. How have the bilateral relations between our countries developed during this quarter of a century?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Indeed, this document has become a key milestone on the way to bringing the bilateral partnership to a fundamentally new level, largely outlining the general principles and main priorities of our interstate relations. The period that has passed since then has clearly shown that the further development of the potential of bilateral cooperation fully corresponds to the fundamental interests of the Armenian and Kazakh peoples.

Today, our relations truly stand out for their strategic nature and include reliable political dialogue, including at the top level. I would like to emphasize with satisfaction the existence of mutual political will, which allows us to move forward with the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, enriching them with new content and strategic guidelines. We are determined to develop bilateral relations based on the principles of true equality, mutual assistance, sovereignty, territorial integrity and mutual respect for each other's interests, which are equally valued by both the Armenian and Kazakh peoples.

Relying on centuries-old strong ties, our countries are actively and persistently advocating for the comprehensive and consistent growth of interstate dialogue and cooperation in almost all fields, from political partnership in bilateral and multilateral formats and the expansion of trade and economic cooperation, to the deepening of cultural and humanitarian ties and development of partnership at the interregional level.

At the same time, it should be noted that along with the serious foundations we already have, we undoubtedly have a wide room for further joint work.

Question - In 2023, the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Armenia increased by more than 23 percent. However, despite such dynamics, the potential of cooperation between our countries in the trade and economic sphere is mostly not realized. Which areas, in your opinion, are the most promising for cooperation?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Last year’s growth in bilateral trade confirms the effectiveness of the mechanisms created to facilitate business conditions, however, we can agree that further steps are required in the search for new forms of interaction, aimed at bringing cooperation to a qualitatively new level that meets the existing potential and development priorities of our countries.

In this regard, the intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Kazakhstan bears special responsibility. Its regular tenth session was held at the beginning of April this year. Considering the special attention that was paid to the issues of diversification of transport routes and the identification of new chains of export-import and transit deals, relevant results can be expected in the near future. Along with traditional sectors, such as the food and jewelry industry or pharmaceuticals, we can also talk about cooperation in the fields of innovative technologies (opening of joint startups, tool engineering, digitization of education, promotion of sector investments, etc.).

Armenia, like Kazakhstan, attaches special importance to the development of transport and logistics infrastructures. In this context, the Armenian government has presented a large-scale "Crossroads of Peace" infrastructure project for our region, which involves the creation and modernization of a number of transport and communication routes. The goal of this project is to create the most favorable conditions for the development of trade and economic relations between all interested states, as well as to significantly increase the logistics potential of the South Caucasus region, based on full respect for the sovereignty and jurisdiction of countries, as well as the principles of equality and reciprocity.

In addition, I believe that the establishment of direct contacts in the "business to business" (B2B) format can contribute to the realization of the trade and economic potential of our countries. In this regard, the work done within the framework of the Armenian-Kazakh business forum, which also took place in Yerevan at the beginning of this month, is noteworthy.

Question - Today there are more than 400 registered companies with Armenian capital in Kazakhstan, while in your country, about 100 companies with Kazakh capital operate in various sectors of the economy. What makes Armenia attractive for Kazakh businessmen and, in your opinion, what are the prospects for the development of cooperation in the investment field for our countries?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Thanks to the "open door" policy of the Armenian government, there are practically no restrictions on investment activity in our country. Our government provides comprehensive support to foreign investors, including our Kazakh partners. We offer a variety of programs that provide government support and resources to investment projects that promote economic development and innovation. Also, favorable conditions for doing business have been created in the free economic zones of Armenia, a comprehensive package of tax benefits is provided and simplified procedures are in place.

Armenia consistently pursues a multi-vector foreign trade policy, and this, taking into account the preferential trade regime with Kazakhstan within the EAEU framework, as well as the possibility of combining the transport and logistics capabilities of the two countries in order to diversify trade and transport routes, makes our country attractive for Kazakh businessmen.

In this regard, I would like to emphasize once again the importance of direct contacts between the representatives of business communities of Armenia and Kazakhstan aimed at investment promotion. I am sure that the state institutions of both countries will in turn ensure adequate protection of capital, as well as a safe and predictable investment environment.

Question - Today, Kazakhstan is the leader in Central Asia in the field of digitization, from fintech to e-government, and further development in this direction remains among the priorities of our country. Armenia also pays great attention to the modernization of information and communication technologies and the development of the knowledge-based economy. What experience can our countries exchange with each other in this field?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - The IT industry in Armenia has seen significant growth in recent years due to favorable conditions for business, quality workforce and government support. The field of information technologies in our country shows a steady growth of 20% per year, making it one of the most dynamically developing branches of the country. In the international arena, Armenian companies have a great reputation in the fields of software development, artificial intelligence and machine learning, information security, as well as innovative fintech startups.

Considering the great mutual interest between representatives of the high-tech industry of the two countries, I believe that the work being carried out to determine the specific mechanisms and forms of cooperation in these areas can turn into promising joint projects in the foreseeable future.

Question - Mr. Prime Minister, do you think that combining the efforts of EAEU member states could create a more stable model of economic cooperation, smoothing geopolitical splits?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – The EAEU is an economic union without any political and, especially, geopolitical agenda. The Armenian and Kazakh parties generally share this approach and develop cooperation within the framework of this economic union with this very logic.

We continue to develop cooperation within the framework of our economic partnership, seeking to prevent any attempts to politicize the EAEU. EAEU and its economic principles should not be intertwined with political ambitions. The basic freedoms of trade and integration cannot and should not be limited by political considerations, which would lead to the erosion of the fundamental principles of the Union.

Question - Kazakhstan and Armenia cooperate not only within the framework of bilateral, but also multilateral structures. Do our countries have a mutual understanding on the key issues of the international and regional agenda?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Our relations on multilateral platforms are also characterized by regular contacts based on mutual trust, sincere exchange of ideas on current issues of the global and regional agenda, and willingness to seek joint solutions to emerging problems.

Armenia, like Kazakhstan, has a particularly careful attitude for respecting the norms and principles of international law, in particular, in matters of state sovereignty, recognition and respect of each other's territorial integrity, inviolability of state borders.

Our countries strive to diversify their economies and transit potential.

The combination of all the above makes the positions of Armenia and Kazakhstan on the key issues of the international panorama more understandable for each other.

Considering also the fact that within the framework of multilateral structures, Yerevan and Astana often take, if not always the same, then very close positions, Armenia is ready to further develop and deepen constructive cooperation with Kazakhstan on various international and regional platforms based on mutual support.

Question - Traditionally, humanitarian ties and human contacts make a great contribution to the development of mutual understanding and cooperation between states. A large number of ethnic Armenians live in Kazakhstan, who have the opportunity to develop their culture and language, to strengthen ties with their historical homeland. How many ethnic Kazakhs live in Armenia? What measures are being taken at the interstate level so that the rapprochement of the two peoples continues on the basis of mutual respect and friendship?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Historically being a nation with a large diaspora, Armenians are well aware of how important it is to have the opportunity to freely express themselves and preserve their linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious identity. For our government, creating conditions aimed at establishing connections between people, encouraging the activities of cultural and informational centers and ethnic organizations is of a priority nature.

Tens of thousands of Armenians live and work in Kazakhstan today, making a significant contribution to the accomplishment and development of our friendly country. Being devoted citizens of their country, they at the same time do everything to preserve their national identity, language and traditions. We are, of course, deeply grateful to the people and government of the Republic of Kazakhstan for creating such a healthy atmosphere of inclusion and equality.

Despite the relatively small number of ethnic Kazakhs living in Armenia, our people have always treated the Kazakh people with sympathy and deep trust, highly valuing our centuries-old friendship.

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