Kocharian Putin Talk On CIS Summit Bilateral Ties

YEREVAN–BAKU (RFE/RL–Noyan Tapan)–President Robert Kocharian held a phone conversation with his acting Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin late Monday to discuss preparations for the upcoming summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States and relations between the two countries–his press office reported.

In a first contact since the surprise resignation of President Boris Yeltsin on December 31–the two leaders touched on "prospects for the development of Russian-Armenian relations," it said.

In his statement that followed the announcement of Yeltsin’s decision to quit–Kocharian’s signaled his support for Putin’s bid to become the next Russian president.

Visiting Armenia last October–Putin said Moscow supports Kocharian in his efforts to rebuild the country’s leadership shattered by the 27 October assassinations in parliament.

The then Russian premier was in Yerevan to pay his last respects to the victims of the parliament attack.

His remarks were then interpreted as a sign that the Kremlin is against Kocharian’s resignation–which is sought by some powerful allies of Armenia’s slain prime minister Vazgen Sargsyan.

The agenda for the upcoming summit of CIS leaders–scheduled to convene in Moscow on January 25–includes such items as a conventions agreed to during the November OSCE summit in Istanbul regarding ways to combat international terrorism–reported the Noyan Tapan news agency.

The meeting will also address the resolution and developmen’s in the Abkhazia conflict–taking into consideration the April 2 CIS summit discussions.

Deputy Azeri prime minister Abass Abassov was quoted by Azerpress as saying that summit would also discuss several military issues. Baku will not participate in those talks.

The agenda will focus on issues related to organized crime and will draft plans on these and other matters to be effective from 2000 to 2003.

Abassov also added that a decision on the CIS leaders Council presidency–which will be determined during the summit–will have an impact on the future of the Commonwealth.

The summit is also scheduled to address several issues related to general security concerns within the CIS–as well as inter-CIS crime. Discussions will also be held on combatting those concerns.

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