Kocharian Feels Ready to Become President

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Acting President and Prime Minister Robert Kocharian was in the Siunik region Monday where in the town of Meghri he visited the local copper and molybdenum factory.

In the afternoon–Kocharian left for Kapan to visit the local ore mining and treatment enterprise. Enterprise manager Garnik Arakelian explained to Kocharian the current problems–whereafter Kocharian pledged assistance to alleviate the enterprise’s crisis. Kocharian also announced that $300 million will be invested in Siunik through the JSCI and mineral companies of South Africa to develop the region’s mining industry–which–in turn–will help recover former industrial capacity and discover new potential.

Thereafter–Kocharian held a meeting with the local public. Siunik’s governor Souren Abrahamian stressed that Kocharian’s visit was a working one and not part of his campaign–saying that its goal was to study the problems of the region’s two idling factories. Kocharian outlined the current economic situation in the country–particularly referring to the prospects for development of industry–capital construction and agriculture–as well as foreign investment and tax policy.

Speaking about the upcoming presidential election–Kocharian reassured that they would be fair and free–adding that "This time we have to prove that we are able to counter the image acquired by Armenia following the 1996 presidential election."

Kocharian warned against discrediting any of the twelve nominated presidential candidates during the presidential race–saying that in that case Armenia would have a jeopardized president.

Kocharian also answered questions regarding social issues. Asked whether he was unsatisfied with his current position and therefore running for president–Kocharian said–"First of all–I’d say that it’s been a year now since my post was lowered–that is–I was asked to leave my position as President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to come to Armenia and take the office of Prime Minister–so I have experience working as president. I feel enough power and will to lead the country out of the current crisis. Currently–I am acting as president in addition to my duties as prime minister. I am just doing my job".

After visiting Goris and Sisian–Kocharian returned to Yerevan late in the evening.


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