Kocharian Meets Diaspora Business Leaders in NY

NEW YORK (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian held a meeting Tuesday with Diasporan businessmen. Attending the meeting were more than 50 Armenian businessmen from the US–Canada–and Latin American countries.

Kocharian pointed out that the goal of the meeting was to encourage investmen’s–Diasporan businessmen’s economic activities in Armenia and the creation of new jobs.

Stating that the creation of jobs and economic development is a major condition for Armenia’s economic development–raising living standards and prevention of immigration from Armenia–the Armenian president stressed his wish that each Diasporan businessman has economic interests in Armenia.

He pointed out that stability has been restored in Armenia–and the country is ready for investmen’s and able to "digest" them.

Speaking at the meeting was also Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian who provided detailed information on the economic situation in Armenia–prospects of and obstacles to its development.

President Kocharian arrived in New York Monday morning to participate in the United Nations Summit of the Millennium.

The president’s party also includes Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian.

On September 7–the Armenian president is to make a speech at a summit meeting.

Robert Kocharian is also scheduled to hold a meeting with his Azeri counterpart Haydar Aliyev in New York.

Both in New York and later in Geneva–Kocharian will hold meetings with Diasporan businessmen to discuss possibilities and prospects of more active participation of Diasporan businessmen in the economic life of Armenia.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged the largest ever gathering of world leaders on Wednesday to protect their people from misery and develop an agenda to eradicate poverty–wipe out disease and forge peace.

“They look to you to protect them from the great dangers of our time; and to ensure that all of them can share in its great achievemen’s,” he told more than 150 kings–presidents and prime ministers at the UN Millennium Summit.

“Let us not disappoint them,” he said at the opening of the three-day summit–according to his prepared remarks.

Annan said no mother in the world could understand why her child should be left to die of malnutrition or preventable disease. And no one could understand why people “should be driven from their homes or imprisoned and tortured for expressing their beliefs,” he said.

Annan said the leaders had to set priorities and adapt the 55-year old United Nations so it could do what people expected of it in the 21st century.

Germany’s chancellor–Gerhard Schroeder–in his prepared remarks–said the first UN body to set priorities should be the 189-member General Assembly–which has overloaded its agenda with repetitious resolutions for decades.

Annan–in his news conference on Tuesday–said he had no illusions that the summit would by itself cure the world of its problems of poverty–wars–environmental destruction and the AIDS epidemic.

“But in today’s world–given the technology and the resources around–we have the means to tackle them. If we have the will–we can deal with them,” he said.

“You may think I am a dreamer. But without the dream you do not get anything done,” he added.

Specifically–the world leaders are to sign a declaration on Friday based on calls for strengthened peacekeeping structures–targets against hunger–disease and illiteracy and a benevolent globalization.

President Bill Clinton kicked off the parade of five-minute speeches on Wednesday after which the United States is bound to get its share of criticism from friends and foes alike–beginning with its $1.7 billion debt to the world body.

Without mentioning Washington by name–Schroeder intends to call on every member state “to pay its contributions on time and in full.” Germany is the third highest contributor to the world body–following the United States and Japan.

Clinton then met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat–his first crucial sessions with the two Middle East leaders since they left Camp David in July without a peace deal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin–who spoke on Wednesday used the occasion to rally support against plans for a US national missile defense. Clinton has said he would leave a decision whether to deploy the system to the next administration.

Cuban President Fidel Castro–who arrived in New York on Tuesday–his first US trip in five years–usually has one objective: to convince Americans to recognize Cuba and lift the 30-year-old embargo against his country.

Beyond US-Cuba politics–the mainstay of his career–Castro was also sure to use a rare trip to what Havana calls the “heart of imperialism” to promote his view that radical reform is needed to save the world from doom.

Kocharian–who is on a visit to New York–held a meeting September 5 with Director of the US "Epigi Labs" company Sam Simonian. The meeting was followed by the signing of the Agreement "On Epigi Park’s foreign investmen’s in the business of high technologies in Armenia". The agreement is aimed at promoting the development of private sector in the hi-tech sphere–including computer technology–in Armenia. The 5-year-long $20,000,000-worth program provides for the establishment of a 1,000-seat Internet-saloon–electronic business training–Internet-based training programs for students–as well as for the creation of 500 jobs in the hi-tech sphere.

Later that day President Kocharian held a meeting with representatives of the Hi-Tech Council and discussed the possibilities of developing high technologies in Armenia as well as the direction of further cooperation.

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