Bulgarian President Begins Visit to Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–President of Bulgaria Peter Stoyanov arrived in Armenia on a two-day official visit Wednesday.

Stoyanov met with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian at the Presidential Palace in the afternoon. During the meeting the sides discussed a wide range of issues concerning bilateral and multilateral relations. The two leaders exchanged views on problems of regional concern and on the latest developmen’s in the region. They also addressed prospects of cooperation within international organizations. Kocharian presented Yerevan’s official stance on the Karabakh settlement and the possibilities of developmen’s in the negotiating process.

During enlarged talks Armenian and Bulgarian officials informed the two presidents of the discussions that had already been held by that time and also of the agreemen’s already reached.

Expressing satisfaction with the development of Armenian-Bulgarian relations–Kocharian and Stoyanov stressed that the current legal framework and the good neighborly relations between the two nations have paved the way for giving a fresh impetus to interstate ties to raise them onto a qualitatively high level. They stressed the need for further developing economic cooperation–particularly in the sphere of transportation. According to Stoyanov–Bulgaria may become a gateway to Western Europe for Armenia. Both presidents pointed out that Armenia and Bulgaria have great potential for cooperation within TRACECA and other projects. The two attached importance to the possible Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Bulgaria cooperation. They also believe it is necessary to intensify bilateral trade and economic relations.

Stoyanov described the opening of Bulgaria’s embassy in Armenia as a major incentive to further Armenian-Bulgarian relations.

Eight Armenian-Bulgarian documen’s were signed during Stoyanov’s visit to Armenia.

The presidents of the two countries signed a joint declaration and intergovernmental agreemen’s on cooperation in 2000-2002 in the spheres of science–culture and education–cooperation in the spheres of post and telecommunications–combined shipmen’s–cooperation in the sphere of tourism–cooperation and mutual assistance in the customs sphere–and cooperation in the sphere of standardization–metrology and certification. A cooperation deal was also signed between the Ministry of Statistics–State Register and Analysis of the Republic of Armenia and the National Institute of Statistics of the Republic of Bulgaria.

At the end of the ceremony–following a decision made by Yerevan’s City Hall–Yerevan Mayor Albert Bazeyan gave Peter Stoyanov the title of Honorary Citizen of Yerevan.

Stressing the importance of the first official visit of the Bulgarian president to Armenia–Armenian President Robert Kocharian observed that the signing of eight important documen’s had created an appropriate legal framework necessary for bilateral political and economic cooperation. Noting that friendly relations exist between the two nations and that Bulgaria sits in an important geographical location–Bulgaria may become a gateway to Europe for Armenia. Kocharian noted that there are a lot of possibilities for cooperation under TRACECA and other projects.

The President of Bulgaria–for his part–stressed that Armenia’s important position on the way from Europe through the Caucasus and into Central Asia and the Far East can also be helpful for Bulgaria. Stoyanov pointed out that a bilateral agreement had been reached regarding intensified development of trade and economic relations. The fact that Bulgaria has decided to open its embassy in Yerevan is proof of the important role Bulgaria has assigned to Armenia.

Stoyanov stressed the importance of laying the eight corridors of the EU’s TRACECA project in terms of developing transport cooperation between Armenia and Bulgaria.

According to Stoyanov–Bulgaria takes seriously the transport project of Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Bulgaria and is ready to sign an appropriate agreement. Both presidents shared the opinion that there is an equal mutual interest in the realization of a similar project.

In answer to a Bulgarian journalist’s question–the President of Armenia’said that until all regional conflicts were settled–the implementation of the TRACECA project would be encountering obstacles. "But the most wrongful approach will be to wait for the conflicts to be settled and try to get down to the projects afterwards. I am sure that it is the realization of these projects that will help settle conflicts. These are projects around which the conflicting parties will be have them bound to each other by mutual interests–which will certainly have a positive impact on conflict settlemen’s," Kocharian declared.

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