Armenia Russia Agree On Debt Repayment

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan and Armenpress)–A Russian delegation–led by Russia’s deputy prime minister–co-chairman of the Armenian-Russian inter-governmental economic commission Ilya Klebanov arrived in Yerevan for a two-day visit on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters at Yerevan Zvartnots airport–Klebanov dispelled rumors about differences of opinions between Armenia and Russia while coming up with a viable repayment plan.

According to him–"the part of the work that has been done until today has not caused any differences." He said that the two sides did not come across any problems while specifying the details of the agreement.

He went on to say that the final solution to the problem will be reached in the first few months of the new year.

Klebanov explained the agreement will be implemented later than the original date–because this kind of agreement is new to post-Soviet Russia and therefore needs a little more time to make such important and significant agreemen’s especially with Armenia.

Klebanov and Armenia’s Minister of Defense and Presidential Security Council Secretary Serge Sargsian–signed an agreement on Friday finalizing the provisions for Armenia’s repayment of its debt to Russia. the agreement provides for ways to solve existing problem–and outlines joint ventures the two countries plan to initiate that will help Armenia repay its loans to Russia.

Under the provisions of the agreement–Armenia agreed to transfer ownership of government owned enterprises to Russia. According to Klebanov–the agreement is not only strategically important–but "Is the first real–powerful integration of Russia in Armenia in the last 10 years," he said.

Armenia’s debt to Russia reached $100 million in 2001. The enterprises that will be partially or fully transferred to Russia for the repayment of the debt includes the "Mars" robot-equipment producing plant–enterprises of the Scientific-Production Association of Mathematical Machines–the Scientific-Research Institute of Material Studies and the Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant.

The Russia’s also pledged to invest in these enterprises.

(Two are Armenian energy facilities and four enterprises which were once part of the joint defense complex.)

Klebanov and Sargsian also decided that separate documen’s on each company included in the deal will be prepared and signed in the first quarter of 2002. He said the entire transfer process will be completed in the first half of 2002.

According to Klebanov–both sides are satisfied with the work done and the agreemen’s reached. Positively assessing the results of bilateral cooperation in 2001–Klebanov emphasized the importance of cooperating in the economic and industrial fields.

"We can honestly say that we have not had any political problems with each other–and I believe this is because we both understand each other. But if we do not engage in joint development of our economies–this understanding may disappear and Armenia will have this understanding with any country that will intensively work on developing Armenia’s economy. We believe that it should be done by Russia," said Klebanov.

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