US Armenian Officials Discuss Bilateral Ties

YEREVAN (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan)–Armenian prime minister Aram Sargsyan and a US delegation led by US Trade coordinator Jan Kalitsky focused Monday on issues concerning Armenia-US economic cooperation and regional energy safety.

Prior to their visit to Armenia–the delegation was in Turkey. The Armenia visit will be followed by visits to Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Kalitsky said that both the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and US Export Bank have expressed their readiness to promote investment programs in Armenia.

The US delegation was received the same day by Armenian president Robert Kocharian. President Kocharian expressed hope that the delegation’s visit will bring a positive contribution towards the process started several months ago targeted at making Armenia-US relations more professional.

Speaking about the goals of the visit–Kalitsky said the delegation’s members intend to collect information on Armenia’s economic situation–as well as to discuss establishment of business ties with Armenian entrepreneurs.

A million dollars from the aid provided to Armenia by the US Government will be spent on the establishment of Internet centers in nearly 100 schools in Armenia–Assistant Director of the US Embassy Education–Culture & Information Department John Balian said in a Noyan Tapan interview.

The Internet installation projects are aimed at enabling Armenian schoolchildren to use the vast information network–and to communicate with the outer world–their international counterparts and Diasporan coevals.

Schools in remote provinces will be the first to be fitted with Internet facilities. Satellite connection will be used in regions with no or poor telephone lines.

Four computers and a server connected to the Internet will be installed at specially repaired studies at schools selected for the program. A specialist will be assigned to teach children and maintain the equipment at the center. The annual payment for Internet services will be covered.

Ambassador Michael Lemmon will be holding meetings with representatives of Armenian organizations in order to find additional funds needed to continue the program.

"We want the Internet to embrace the whole of Armenia and hope to realize this plan either through our own funds or with the help of the Armenian Diaspora," Balian said.

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