YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"It’s a great honor for me to return to my native country–Armenia. I always have a feeling that God’s blessing rests with the Armenian people. I am glad and proud to be here in this great country," American billionaire Jon Huntsman’said upon arriving in Armenia Monday.
Armenia has made great progress for the last eleven years and is in an incomparably better position now than the rest of the CIS countries from the point of view of business risk–Huntsman’suggested–adding that "investmen’s in Armenia have always been encouraged." Speaking of the possibility of new investmen’s–Huntsman did not rule out that they would be made in the education sector.
Jon Huntsman was among the first to make significant investmen’s in Armenia after the country gained independence in 1991. The volume of Huntsman’s overall investment and aid so far has amounted to $18 million. In 1991–Huntsman’set up the Huntsman-Armenia joint venture in Armenia to manufacture ceiling panels as well as Huntsman Building Production making concrete tiles.
Recently–the president of Armenia ratified the Agreement on the implementation of the loan program between the government of the Republic of Armenia and Jon Huntsman. Under the agreement–construction projects worth $10 million are to be implemented in the disaster zone.
"Many states and individuals rendered huge aid to Armenia after the 1988 earthquake but Jon Huntsman is one of those who have continued aid and even increased it to date," Kocharian said during the ceremony of awarding the Mesrop Mashtots Order to the renowned businessman and benefactor.
The Armenian president also recognized the importance of the soft credit allocated by the Jon & Karen Huntsman Foundation for earthquake zone rehabilitation.
Huntsman visited Echmiadzin on Tuesday where he was greeted by the Catholicos’s Vicar General Archbishop Garegin Nersissian.
On behalf of the Catholicos–Arch. Nersissian praised Huntsman for his activities and outstanding charity for Armenia.
Huntsman–in turn–reiterated his commitment to Armenia and high respect for the Armenian Church. His love for Armenia is conditioned by this very feeling.
The benefactor reportedly asked the vicar to convey to His Holiness–with whom he had the honor to meet in the past–his wishes for quick recovery.
Later that day–the "Huntsman Building Production" tiles factory opened in Yerevan. The factory will open 50 new jobs. The capacity of the factory built on funds provided by Huntsman totals 4 million tiles per year ($2 million).
In his speech Jon Huntsman noted that the factory is a result of his cooperation with the Armenian government.
The ceremony of the opening of the factory was attended by president Robert Kocharian–foreign minister Vardan Oskanian–minister of urban development Felix Piroumian–Mayor of Yerevan Souren Abrahamian and other officials.