PM Pashinyan Attends Eurasian Intergovernmental Council Videoconference
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today attended a videoconference session of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council.
The meeting was attended by RF Premier Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Sergey Rumas, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan Muhammedkaly Abylgaziev, and Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Mikhail Myasnikovich.
Addressing the videoconference, the Armenian Prime Minister noted that despite the emergency, everything has to be done to ensure the Organization’s smooth operations. In this regard, Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the holding of meetings in this format at all levels and shared information with EAEU partners on the situation with Covid-19 pandemic in Armenia.
“First, I must say that the situation is under control in the country. A state of emergency has been imposed since March 16, and a strict quarantine - March 24. Like almost all those nations that were hit by the ongoing pandemic, we have imposed severe restrictions on air and land communications.
As of yesterday, we had 937 cases of infection, 149 recovered patients, and unfortunately, 11 deaths. In the vast majority of infections the disease proceeds in quite a mild form, even asymptomatic. But we are not relaxing. We intend to intensify measures to combat the pandemic specifically by increasing the number of testing.
In the fight against the pandemic, we are working with our key international partners. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Russian colleagues for prompt response and effective cooperation. In this regard, I would like to note that Armenia is ready to provide support and assistance to its EAEU partners as much as possible. I do believe that we are bound by duty to coordinate our efforts in the fight against pandemic.
Second, I wish to inform you that the Government of Armenia recently adopted a package of 10 measures to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic for both the population and businesses. In particular, we earmarked more than USD 50 million for the needs of the most vulnerable segments of the population, and the same amount to support the private sector. The Armenian government is also taking measures to stimulate the economy and curb crisis phenomena, the occurrence of which is no longer called into question.
Yes, unfortunately we are directly on the verge of a recession. Apparently, this will no longer be possible to avoid. Moreover, no one knows what the scenario of this crisis will be. How long will the pandemic last? Will it have relapses and repercussions in the future? How deep will the crisis be, and what will be the behavior of the global economy in these conditions?
We believe that the present unprecedented conditions first of all oblige us to ensure uninterrupted functioning of the free trade regime within the EAEU. Restricting the movement of goods and services within the EAEU is unacceptable even amid the pandemic.
Secondly, it is crucial to ensure the smooth running of freight. Uninterrupted freight traffic with the EAEU is of paramount importance to Armenia. The Russian-Georgian border in this regard is of vital importance. In this regard, I would like to thank for the support provided by the Government of the Russian Federation. Thank you, Mikhail Vladimirovich.
Finally, as we can see it, it is necessary to speed up the adoption of measures to significantly increase the share of payments in national currencies in trade within the EAEU.
I am more than convinced that we must strengthen our Union, even in a pandemic and in the face of serious challenges of an imminent recession. We must prove the viability of our organization, its viability in times of crisis and be prepared to take advantage of all those economic opportunities that may arise in the post-crisis period.
In that regard, I would like to note that we fully support the Secretary-submitted joint statement by the Eurasian Supreme Council members. It goes in tune with our vision of challenges to cooperation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is perhaps the range of issues that I wanted to share with you.
To conclude my speech on an optimistic note, I would like to once again express Armenia’s readiness to host the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Council this fall. We hope that the pandemic will have been overcome by this time. Thank you.”
The meeting participants went on to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union, economic development in the current situation, as well as joint steps to deal with existing problems. The participants agreed to follow up the discussion in the nearest future in the same format. In the meantime, the deputy prime ministers and ministers will continue to work on the joint agenda.
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