Nikol Pashinyan: “Armenia adheres to tactics based on cooperation philosophy”
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today took part in a regular meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, held in a video conference format. The meeting was attended by RF President Vladimir Putin, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov, and Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Mikhail Myasnikovich.
Greeting the meeting participants, Prime Minister Pashinyan noted that today everyone is concerned about the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the Premier gave information on the situation in Armenia.
“As a whole, the situation is under control in our country. We have 1,067 infections, with 265 recovered patients and, unfortunately, 16 people have died. It is encouraging that the disease proceeded in a mild and even asymptomatic mode in most infected patients.
A state of emergency has been imposed since March 16, which we extended until May 14. A strict regime of quarantine has been in force since March 23, which has been slightly eased today: economic activity will be allowed in a number of sectors.
Like almost all those states that have been affected by the epidemic, we have introduced restrictions in the sphere of transport communications. To mitigate the socio-economic impact for both the population and businesses, the Armenian government has approved a package of 11 anti-crisis programs. At the same time, serious measures are being taken to revitalize the economy and curb crisis manifestations, the inevitability of which is no longer called into question.
Today, we are facing challenges that are not only threatening our healthcare systems and the health of citizens, but which may create unprecedented problems for our economies. Many experts have already predicted a recession in the global economy, which in its scale will be comparable with the Great Depression. The situation is aggravated by the fact that we do not know how long the pandemic will last and what the course of its development will be in the near future.
Overcoming the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic requires maximum effort from our governments. We obviously need to better coordinate the joint efforts and consolidate our activities in the framework of our organization.
As we can see today, many countries see a way of curbing the pandemic and countering the imminent crisis in the logic of protectionism and in applying restrictive measures in cross-border trade. According to some reports, about 70 countries have already introduced bans or restrictions on the export of medical products and medicines.
This trend may be expanded to encompass a wider range of products. We cannot but be bothered by this prospect, which can have severe consequences for countries with limited economic opportunities and resources,
We are supporters of another strategy - tactics built on the philosophy of partnership and cooperation. In this regard, cooperation in the framework of our union is a priority for us. In this regard, it is my pleasure to note that our vision received full understanding and support on the part of our partners and friends in the EAEU. I am sure that our Union will not only stand the test of the global economic crisis, but also, owing to its highly functional institutions, will help us get out of it with minimal losses. Armenia is prepared to make every effort to that end.
We fully support the Joint Statement issued by Supreme Eurasian Economic Council-member nations, which reflects our common position on the current situation. I am pleased to note that the Statement meets the imperatives recently presented in the UN Secretary-General’s address.
Peacekeeping efforts, suspending hostilities and the unity of the international community are essential in terns of ensuring final success in the fight against the pandemic-triggered challenges and the economic crisis.
Free trade is the backbone principle of our integration association, and our actions should be based on the need to abide by this principle. Therefore, we consider it unacceptable to resort to such measures, one way or another, as may impede the free movement of goods and services within the EAEU.
Uninterrupted freight with EAEC countries is of paramount importance to Armenia. In this regard, the Russian-Georgian border has acquired vital and strategic importance for us.
Finally, given the emerging uncertainties in the global financial system, we believe it necessary to speed up the process of maximizing the share of payments in national currencies in EAEU trade transactions.
Dear colleagues, in the context of the priority tasks facing our organization, I would like to highlight the measures aimed at ensuring economic stability amid the global pandemic, which were passed at a recent meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council. In this context, I want to highlight the creation of the so called “green corridors.”
The simplification of customs procedures is of fundamental importance for the maintenance of our country’s foreign economic relations. Under these circumstances, I would like to highlight the priority of advancing the Union’s digital agenda. Finally, I should note the need for the Eurasian Development Bank to provide credit assistance to member countries.
Concluding my remarks, I want to say that the pandemic is a kind of test for our Union. The readiness of our countries for cooperation and mutual support indicates that the integration has taken place and has great development potential. I am confident that we will all strive to further strengthen it, despite difficulties and adverse circumstances.”
The EAEU-member states’ leaders discussed a set of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within the Union, foster economic development in the current situation and implement joint efforts to deal with the existing problems.