Putin Kocharian to Discuss Russian Armenian Debt Deal

YEREVAN–(RFE/RL)–A scheme to repay Armenia’s $94 million debt to Russia with enterprise equities–still in the works after months of negotiation–is high on the agenda of a two-day working visit to Moscow by President Robert Kocharian which started on Monday.

Kocharian flew to the Russian capital at the head of a large Armenian government delegation that includes several key ministers. Among them is Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian who co-chairs a Russian-Armenian interstate commission on economic cooperation.

Sarkisian and his Russian opposite number–Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov–have been for months negotiating on the assets-for-debt deal but have yet to agree on the list of state-run Armenian companies in which the Russia’s will get substantial stakes.

Kocharian is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Tuesday. His press service said the two leaders will discuss the implementation of mainly economic agreemen’s reached during Putin’s visit to Armenia in September.

Kocharian’s spokesman–Vahe Gabrielian–said on Friday that a final agreement on the debt repayment scheme is unlikely to be signed during the visit.

The Armenian president will travel on to Japan late on Tuesday for a three-day official visit.

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