Bulgarian Speaker Supports Armenia’s CE Membership

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Speakers of the Armenian and Bulgarian National Assembly Khosrov Haroutiunian and Jordan Sokolov signed a protocol on the results of the Bulgarian delegation’s visit to Armenia.

Under the protocol the sides pledged to exchange information–ensure cooperation between the delegations of the two parliamen’s in international organizations–promote the implementation of economic–commercial–scientific and cultural programs within the framework of European integration–take steps to speed up the opening of the Bulgarian embassy in Armenia and extend cooperation between friendship groups.

At a news conference following the signing ceremony–Haroutiunian expressed satisfaction with results of the negotiations. He noted that Armenia (and may be Georgia) "may and should be interested in construction of the eighth transport corridor linking Europe with Asia–and through our combined efforts we’ll try to promote this process."

News conference participants said that the Bulgarian National Assembly Speaker will mediate Armenia’s acquisition of an observer status at the September meeting of chairmen of Bulgarian–Macedonian–Albanian and Italian parliamen’s–covering the 8th transport corridor issue. Sokolov–for his part–noted that to intensify intergovernmental contacts and extend cooperation the two parliamen’s agreed to create a joint parliamentary committee. The committee will be led by the ministers of transport of the two countries.

"There are serious bases for interstate relations between Armenia and Bulgaria as well as good will and desire on the part of both countries’ leaders," President Robert Kocharian said when receiving the Sokolov’s delegation.

According to the president–both countries have mutual interests and numerous common areas for cooperation. "Integration into European structures is a major trend of Armenian foreign policy–and we attach great importance to our relations with Bulgaria," Kocharian stressed.

Sokolov praised Armenia’s democratic reforms.

The two spoke for effective cooperation between Armenia and Bulgaria within international organizations–in particular the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Saying that Bulgaria would support Armenia in its joining the Council of Europe–Sokolov stated that they are of opinion that this issue should not be directly connected with the Karabakh settlement.

The sides referred to the development of transport routes between the two countries as a major incentive to expanded economic cooperation. Sokolov referred to the importance of the formation of the 8th transport corridor within the framework of the TRACECA Program–regarding which a forum is planned to be held in Rome in September to be attended by the top legislators from Italy–Albania and Macedonia. He expressed readiness to promote the involvement of Georgian and Armenian representatives into the process.

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