Kocharian Meets With Pope Italy President

YEREVAN (RFE/RL–Noyan Tapan)–President Robert Kocharian met with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican Thursday to reaffirm Yerevan’s invitation to him to visit Armenia–his press service reported. An official invitation was also extended to the pontiff earlier this week by Armenia’s ambassador to the Vatican.

Kocharian–who arrived in Rome on Wednesday on a three-day official visit–was quoted as praising the Holy See for "efforts to protect human rights and promote peace and stability" in the world.

Vatican officials said earlier that the Pope is considering visiting Armenia for the first time in history during a planned tour of several East European countries later this year.

Kocharian also met with his Italian counterpart Oscar Luigi Scalfaro Thursday–reported the Noyan Tapan news agency.

Both sides said there was vast potential for cooperation between the two nations–stressing the need for officially addressing that issue.

Kocharian stressed that official Yerevan attached special importance to bilateral relations with European countries–as well as to Armenia’s integration into European structures.

Kocharian presented Armenia’s position on the Karabakh conflict resolution–as well as the latest developmen’s in the negotiating process.

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