Kocharian Refutes Secret Baku Yerevan Agreement

YEREVAN (Armenpress/Azg)–Prime Minister Robert Kocharian held a press conference in Tbilisi Tuesday–during which he refuted reports of Azeri oil being on transport through Armenia.

Kocharian said it is too early to speak about this. In the mean time he stressed that Armenia is interested in getting an outlet to the Black Sea through Batumi.

According to the reports of the Georgian press–Kocharian also refuted the rumors about secret negotiations between Baku and Yerevan–related to transportation of oil. The Meridian newspaper reported that Yerevan is worried about the Georgia-Azerbaijan rapprochement–and would like to restore the balance.

During his two day visit in Georgia–the prime minister also met with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze–with whom he discussed economic and cooperation issues–with a special emphasis on the conflicts in Abkhazia and Karabakh.

The two leaders agreed that the solution to such conflicts will come from direct and peaceful negotiations between the parties directly involved in the conflicts. They said that while Georgia has already begun direct negotiations with Abkhazian leaders–Azerbaijan continuously refuses to sit down at the table with Karabakh leaders. The Georgian-Abkhazian talks underway in Geneva have already demonstrated–according to the politicians–the results that will come out of direct talks.

In his meetings with parliament speaker Zourab Jevania–Kocharian again raised the Karabakh issue–criticizing the Azeri stance on direct negotiations with Karabakh.

He asserted that as long as direct talks are not initiated–the issue and its resolution will not go forward.

Kocharian also pointed out that domestically–all of Karabakh’s public and political forces have united in pursuit of their just cause–however–according to the prime minister–the same has not happened in Armenia.

According to him–the political environment in Armenia must improve–and that is of the essence. Kocharian said the opposition must return to the National Assembly–and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s reinstatement must also be discussed–because the Karabakh question is just as much a concern of the opposition as it is the concern of the authorities.

In meetings with other Georgian officials and political figures–including State Minister Niko Lekishvilun–Kocharian discussed economic cooperation between the two Transcaucasian states. Kocharian persistently promoted the idea of economic–cultural and political cooperation between the two countries–referring to the more than 50 mutual agreemen’s and treaties signed by the governmen’s of Armenia and Georgia.

As to the issue of the Armenian Nuclear Plant–Kocharian asserted that that plant would have never reopened if it had not met IAEA standards. "Furthermore," Kocharian added–"if anything should happen at the nuclear plant–Armenia alone would feel the effects of a disaster."

Kocharian–in response to media inquiries–said that there were differences between his and Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s ideas on the Karabakh conflict. He added that those differences were more on the methodology of the solution rather than the solution itself.

"I support the package deal," concluded Kocharian.

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