Kocharian Rejects Assertions of Armenia’s International Isolationism

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The National Television of Armenia broadcast an interview with President Robert Kocharian Monday evening in which the latter denied all assertions that Armenia is facing international isolation and criticized some politicians and mass media–without naming them–for spreading "absurd information" of that kind.

Kocharian said that for the first hundred days of his presidency Armenia had had very strenuous international contacts which "would have been enough for another year or a year and a half."

The president also denied certain reports about the unfavorable economic situation in Armenia. Pointing out that a 6.7 percent GDP growth was reported in Armenia for the first six months of this year–Kocharian expressed optimism for further growth up to 8-10 percent by the end of the year. He also denied allegations that the deadlocked Karabakh dispute impedes foreign investmen’s in Armenia. Pointing to the unprecedented growth of investmen’s reported for this year–President Kocharian said that there had been no investmen’s before because "nobody would care." He also announced his intentions to keep the issue of investmen’s under his own control so as to prevent any kind of bureaucratic obstacle in their way to Armenia.

In meeting with journalists Sunday–Kocharian dismissed with derision commen’s made late last week by the chairman of the formerly ruling Armenian National Movement who predicted a grave political crisis this fall–possibly resulting in Kocharian’s resignation. ANM leader Vano Siradeghian had told fellow party members that the present authorities are leading Armenia to international isolation and war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The fall of 1998 will be the most stable autumn ever," said Kocharian.

A reporter asked whether Kocharian was worried that he would be removed as president as he removed former leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan–and in response Kocharian said–"The former president removed himself from power."

Kocharian said the probability of the resumption of war is "almost nil," while adding that the country should always be prepared for it.

He stated that he did not believe that following the October presidential elections in Azerbaijan–there would be a resumption of military activities instigated by Azerbaijan–adding that the latter preferred to continue dragging its feet in the negotiation process.


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