Russian Diamond Representatives in Armenia for Talks

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Representatives of the Russian diamond industry Monday discussed ways of renewing business contacts with Armenia–mostly halted since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A delegation of top Russian government officials and representatives of the country’s leading diamond company–Almazy Rossii-Sakha–met with President Robert Kocharian–in a visit aimed at "trying to restore the previously existing ties," the presidential press service said.

Armenia was one of the centers of diamond processing in the former Soviet Union and has maintained refined diamonds among its main export items.

But since the early 1990s–South Africa’s De Beers corporation–the world’s diamond monopoly–has come to replace the diamond-rich Russia as Armenia’s main supplier.

"The two sides agreed that a cooperation with the Russian company would enable [Armenia] to have a second source of raw material supplies and new markets," the press service said. The Russia’s were also quoted as expressing their "interest and readiness" in dealing with Armenian diamond processing enterprises and praising business legislation in Armenia.

The delegation includes Vladimir Revenko–a senior official in President Boris Yeltsin’s administration–Artur Chilingarov–a deputy speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament and Vyacheslav Shatyrov–the president of Almazy Rossii-Sakha.

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