Energy Secretary Pena Arrives in Armenia on Official Visit

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Levon Ter-Petrosyan received a United States delegation headed by Secretary of Energy Federico Pena Tuesday.

The delegation was comprised of State Department and Energy and Trade Department representatives. Pena pointed out that Armenia is an inseparable part of the Transcaucasus and the US attaches great importance to Armenia’s participation in the east-west Eurasian transport corridor program. He appraised economic reforms–particularly in energy field–carried out in Armenia and expressed the willingness of the US government to continue its support to Armenia. The US also encourages democratization processes in Armenia which–according to the Secretary–are developing in the right direction.

Ter-Petrosyan–in turn–stressed the cooperation between Armenia and US–particularly in the energy field.

During the meeting–the sides discussed the energy development in Armenia and other countries of the region as well as issues on cooperation in the field. Present were Armenian Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian–Energy Minister Gagik Martirossian and US Ambassador in Armenia Peter Tomsen.

In a statement released later–Pena said–"I am delighted to have had this opportunity to visit Armenia…My visit is part of a mission that President Clinton asked me to lead to Turkey–Armenia–Azerbaijan–Turkmen’stan and Georgia. This mission indicates the importance the United States places on the role of energy development in the integration of the countries of the Caspian region and the Caucasus.

"The overall purpose of our mission is to help develop a more diverse and secure supply of oil for world markets; to encourage financial strength and economic vitality in the countries in the Caspian region; to accelerate the construction of an east-west Eurasian transport corridor to move oil and gas from the Caspian and Central Asia to the world; and to support US commercial interests," asserted the Secretary.

According to Pena the sides discussed various option for the inclusion of Armenia in several significant energy projects in the Caucasus. "We see these developmen’s–and Armenia’s inclusion in them–as a source of stability and prosperity throughout the region that will complement progress toward a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh," he said.

"The United States Government has been a staunch partner of the Armenian people in the field of energy reform. We have responded to Armenia’s urgent energy crisis by supplying kerosene for winter heat and natural gas for electricity generation…The United States and Armenia have long-standing ties and relationships between our governmen’s and our people. I greatly appreciate the warm welcome and very productive meeting we had here today," concluded Pena’s statement.

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