Armenian Interior Minster in Minsk

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian Interior Minister Hayk Harutunian left on Monday for the Belarus capital Minsk on a three- day official visit. A senior official of the Armenian defense ministry told reporters that Harutunian will discuss prospects for cooperation between Armenian and Belarus–the struggle against organized crime and many other issues.

Belarus news agencies reported that Interior Minister Uladzimir Navumaw and Armenian interior minister Hayk Harutunian signed a protocol on cooperation between the two interior ministries for 2002-2003 on Monday in Minsk.

During a brief news conference following the signing of the document–Navumaw expressed his wish that–"this agreement would not remain on paper only–but that specific steps would be added to it."

The Armenian minister noted that the protocol was signed as a follow-up to the agreement which had been enacted since 1994 and "now that criminals from our countries are uniting–there is even more reason for us to act together."

He said that the fact that the law-enforcement agencies of the two countries cooperated which resulted in the detention of two criminals who had been on Armenia’s wanted list. Those criminals have been extradited to Armenia’so they may be brought to justice.

Navumaw hopes to make an official visit to Yerevan in the spring of 2002 to evaluate the progress in the implementation of the protocol signed in Minsk.

Navumaw reported that during the talks–his Armenian counterpart proposed uniting the efforts of all CIS law-enforcement agencies to fight the phenomenon of "crime bosses."This is a very interesting initiative because it is our common problem," Navumaw said.

He said that "this is a category of people who are migrating and seeking greener pastures." In saying so–the minister did not rule out that in the light of liberalization–which the authorities promised–the crime bosses could also step up their activities in Belarus. "When we create a common foundation against crime with other CIS countries–we will get rid of crime bosses in two years’ time," Navumaw stated.

A protocol was signed on cooperation between the Armenian and Belarusian committees for combating organized crime and corruption. The committee head–Mikhail Myadzvedzew–and Armenian Deputy Interior Minister Armen Yeritsyan signed the document.

Belarusian Security Council State Secretary Henadz Nyavyhlas met with the delegation of the Armenian ministry on Tuesday.

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