Markarian Arrives in Minsk

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A delegation headed by prime minister Antranik Markarian arrived in the Belarussian capital of Minsk Wedneday.

At the airport–Markarian and the delegation were greeted by Belarus prime minister Vladimir Yermoshin and other officials.

While speaking with reporters at the airport–Markarian expressed optimism that the results of the visit will be positive. According to him–this is the first official visit in the history of the Armenia-Belarus relations and must make the trade and economic ties "as close as the military and cultural ties between the two countries."

Armenia completely agrees with Belarus’ position on that the military and technical cooperation may become the "locomotive" which is able to intensify the bilateral trade and economic cooperation–expressed Markarian.

During his two-day visit Armenia’s prime minister will hold meetings with Belarus’ top-ranking officials–business circles and local Armenia’s. He will also visit various industrial enterprises of the country.

During the visit–which came about at the invitation of Belarus’ Prime Minister Vladimir Yermoshin–a number of intergovernmental agreemen’s are expected to be signed–including on avoiding double taxation–on mutual assistance and cooperation in maintaining tax legislation–on cooperation in the financial and banking spheres–on social protection of citizens temporarily working outside their countries–and on economic and scientific-technical cooperation in agribusiness.

The government quoted Markarian–who gave an interview to the Sovetskaya Belorusia newspaper–as saying the signing of the agreement will create a legal framework in which it will be possible to unfold active work. According to Armenia’s premier–the current economic relationships do not satisfy either Belarus or Armenia. While Belarus has great possibilities of exporting agricultural machinery–goods of the woodworking and light industries–Armenia can export electronic appliances–rubber–and foodstuffs.

Markarian positively assessed the establishment of a common customs territory within the CIS as well as the CIS Collective Security Treaty. He said Armenia was not going to join the Russia-Belarus Union but deemed that it could closely cooperate with these countries both within the framework of the CIS and through establishing bilateral economic and political relations.

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