Government Top Bankers Discuss Economic Situation

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The heads of commercial banks operating in Armenia Wednesday met the country’s leadership to discuss the economic situation and the government’s fiscal-monetary policies.

The participants "expressed views on issues related to the banks’ operations–stressed the need to improve the banking legislation and tighten up the law and order in the banking sector," President Robert Kocharian’s press service reported.

The bankers presented to Kocharian "their concerns about certain issues," it said without giving details.

Kocharian was quoted as calling for a further "reinforcement" of "stable banking system," which he called Armenia’s "crucial achievement."

He said a strong financial system is essential for the government’s efforts to ensure "sustainable economic growth."

The meeting was held behind the closed doors.

The surprise presence of the minister of interior and prosecutor-general among other top officials may testify to its particular importance.

The presidential office said the participants "exchanged thoughts about the possible impact on the [Armenian] banking system of the global economic crisis."

Analysts suggest that the economic turmoil in Russia is affecting Armenia’s market for short-term government bonds–until recently dominated by Russian investors. In a desperate need for foreign exchange–many of them have withdrawn their capital from Armenia–cutting demand for the bonds.

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