Government Fails to Change Terms of ArmenTel Sale Contract

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The negotiations recently held in London between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Greek OTE company–the principal holder of ArmenTel’s shares–were deadlocked in consequence of what was described by Armenian Justice Minister David Haroutiunian as OTE’s tough and destructive position. The minister issued a statement in regards to the recent negotiations that were disseminated on March 7.

In his statement the minister said that the goal of the negotiations had been to introduce changes in the purchase-sale terms for the main package of ArmenTel’s shares. The amendment proposed by the Armenian side "did not in any way affect OTE’s rights but had been intended solely to exclude juridical inaccuracies in the contract so as to enable the Republic of Armenia to defend its interests to the full." The minister did not elaborate as to the proposed changes.

The position of the Greek company is qualified in the statement as an attempt to pressure the Armenian Government for the purpose of creating conditions by means of a number of changes in the purchase-sale contract which will allow the company to shirk responsibility for the fulfillment of its obligations.

At the same time–it is said that OTE has already broken a number of obligations. In particular–it did not fulfill its commitment to invest $100 million in the development of Armenia’s telecom market–whose term expired on March 3. OTE does not compensate for the legal expenses the Armenian side incurred as a result of court proceedings. Moreover–OTE constantly violates the rights of Armenian consumers in collecting subscription fees and cutting phone connection.

"In the given situation–I deem it important to declare that the Government of the Republic of Armenia is taking all the necessary measures to defend the interests of the country and its citizens," Haroutiunian said in his statement.

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