Dole Leads Delegation to Armenia Meets Kocharian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A delegation led by former US Senator Bob Dole arrived in Yerevan Monday to start the implementation of the business support program in Armenia.

Renowned Armenian billionaire and benefactor Kirk Kirkorian is known to have set up a fund with an authorized capital of $100 million in association with his Lincy Foundation to support business ventures in Armenia.

The US delegation was met by Prime Minister Robert Kocharian and other officials. During the three-day visit the delegation is expected to hold meetings with government officials and representatives of business circles in Armenia to specify the use of the allocated funds.

The delegation also includes Lincy Foundation Director James Aljian–United Armenia Fund Director Harout Sassounian–Dole aides Susan Tempkin and James Campbell–laywers–as well as Alice Kelikian–daughter of Dole’s personal doctor in whose honor a tree will be planted at Dzidzernagabert.

National Assembly speaker Babken Ararktsian met with the former Senator–Aljian and others in the visiting delegation Tuesday.

Highly estimating the US Senator’s mission in Armenia and stressing the importance of Krikorian’s action in regards to economic development in Armenia–Ararktsian noted that the $100 million credit program was a serious step toward restoration of industry–encouragement of investment–introduction of advanced technologies with the use of the country’s scientific potential.

The speaker announced that next year the National Assembly would continue improving the legislation while simultaneously implementing reforms in the tax system. Ararktsian and Dole shared the opinion that it was necessary to take into consideration entrepreneurs’ and industrialists’ views–while Armenia has all necessary conditions for implementation of long-term-credit programs.

The meeting was attended by deputy speaker Ara Sahakian. The delegation also met with Catholicos of All Armenia’s Karekin I–as well as visit children’s hospital 2–"Mars" enterprise and Hotel Armenia.

At the airport Kocharian noted,"This is a large contribution to the private sector of the Armenian economy. This aid will doubtlessly open up good opportunities for the development of the country’s business and economy–for stimulating the growth of small- and medium-size businesses."

There will also be meetings with Director of Midland Armenia Bank–Armenian businessmen–Chairman of the Bankers’ Association and Central Bank President Bagrat Asatrian–as well as various ministers–including–Garnik Nanagoulian. Prominent US political leader visits Armenia.

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