Canadian Transport Minister Discusses Cooperation in Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Canada will provide technical assistance to Armenia in privatizing and restructuring its transport sector–government officials in Yerevan said on Wednesday after talks with Canadian Transport Minister David Collonate. Armenian Transport Minister Yervand Zakharian told reporters that the two sides have agreed to set up a joint commission to "prepare a more serious document."

He said a "tentative agreement" has been reached on a lease by the Armenian state airline company of several "middle-range" commercial jets from Canada. Armenian Airlines is to replace the bulk of its aging Soviet-made aircraft by the end of 2000. The Armenian government has been trying to restructure the company–which is in a difficult financial situation. Its privatization is alikely option.

Zakharian said the Canadian government–which itself has sold off its state airline–will help the Armenian Airlines attract foreign investors.

The visiting Canadian delegation also included Sarkis Assadourian– a Candaian member of parliament who said the "potential [for bilateral economic cooperation] is quite big–but has yet to be used."

Asbarez has learned that the minister was accompanied by Armenian Revolutionary Federation Canada Central Committee member Apkar Mirakian an dCanadian-Armenian businessmen Simon Hasserdjian–Manas Titizian and Yervant Shahinian.

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