Berezovsky Meets with Kocharian Discusses CIS Progress

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–CIS Secretary Boris Berezovsky arrived in Yerevan Tuesday.

He has completed his tour of Moldavia–Ukraine–Belarus and Azerbaijan. He said on arrival that the CIS Council of Heads of State has taken a decision for serious reconstruction of the Commonwealth of Independent States to boost its progress. Much has been done to consolidate the CIS–he said–adding that everyone from CIS presidents to CIS residents feel that a huge potential remains untapped.

Berezovsky said this gives cause for dissatisfaction–as everyone realizes that much more could have been done.

Berezovksy said Armenia had great significance in the Russian empire and the former Soviet Union and retains that importance in the CIS.

"In general–I think what there was earlier was not incidental. There is a pattern. However–forms must be different–there is no doubt about this. Armenia is one of the most important elemen’s of the emerging new Commonwealth of Independent States," he said.

Kocharian was the only CIS president to question Berezovsky’s appointment as CIS secretary.

"I view this exactly as it is written–the Commonwealth of Independent States–in which they are not obliged to have identical points of view," Berezovksy said in a comment.

"The Armenian president is concerned that the Commonwealth is not advancing forward and he probably wanted to see in this place a person about whom he knows more than about me," he said.

In a meeting with Kocharian–the two discussed CIS transformation and conflict situations within the CIS. Noting that the Karabakh problem was also discussed at a meeting with Azerbaijani president–Berezovsky said that "despite great differences in the approaches–I think there is a field for progress–mutual understanding."

Commenting on Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov’s statement that the position of CIS secretary is a technical rather than political one–Berezovsky noted that he does not want the CIS executive committee to assume more functions than those fixed in the statute. According to him–the statute does not say that the executive committee should not deal with conflict situations.

Berezovsky noted that together with Armenia’s president they agreed that the main problem of the CIS is the economic problem. He said that everybody clearly understands that normal economic development is possible only in the absence of conflict. "That is why we cannot evade discussing conflict situations," he added.

Regarding CIS economic integration–Berezovsky cited the Russian president as saying that the most important step is to reject the former mentality of "elder and younger brothers."Only within the framework of a new–simply formulated and easy to understand mentality can we build normal relations–and first of all economic relations. I hope that it will form a base for broad political consent," Berezovsky said.

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