Foreign Minister Oskanian Visits India

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia’s foreign minister Vartan Oskanian arrived on a two-day official visit to India December 4. Oskanian met with India’s prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpai.

According to the Armenian foreign ministry–both sides appreciated the high level of political cooperation between the two countries and emphasized the need for further expansion of economic cooperation.

The two sides also reached an arrangement on holding the second session of the Armenian-Indian inter-governmental commission on trade–industry–technologies–science and education in Yerevan.

Minister Oskanian appreciated India’s support to Armenia’s accession to the World Trade Organization. He said Armenia wanted the United Nations structure to be "more balanced and equitable" and supported India’s "intent to become a permanent member of an enlarged security council." The foreign minister then had a meeting with the Indian Minister for Information Technologies and Communication Pramogh Mahajan. Oskanian said that information technologies is Armenia’s priority industry and added all favorable conditions exist for its development. Prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation in this sector were further discussed.

Minister Oskanian also had a meeting the same day with the Indian Confederation of Manufacturers.

Press Trust of India Limited reported that Armenia called upon Pakistan to stop supporting terrorist activities and encroachmen’s in India–and increase its efforts to continue peaceful negotiations on Kashmir.

"We endorse India’s position that talks cannot be resumed until Pakistan ends terrorism–encroachmen’s and motivated actions. The Kashmir issue can be resolved only through peaceful negotiations," Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told reporters.

Oskanian–the first Foreign Minister of Armenia to visit the country since it gained independence–said he had conveyed to Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee his country’s appreciation of the unilateral cease-fire announced by India during Ramadan.

Oskanian is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh and other ministers and plans on signing a civil aviation agreement for a direct flight between New Delhi and the Armenian capital of Yerevan in the near future. The Armenian leader said he would discuss with his Indian counterpart the issue of combating terrorism–the situation in Afghanistan and other bilateral matters.

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