Armenia Iran Sign Energy Agreement

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–On July 11–Energy Minister of Armenia Armen Movsissian and his Iranian counterpart Habib Olla Bitarafi signed a memorandum on mutual understanding on cooperation in the sphere of electrical power.

The document specifies the terms of the implementation of three joint energy programs.

Energy Minister Armen Movsissian said after the signing ceremony that under the memorandum–in particular–the term of the operation of the Agarak switching station is set until the end of August 2002.

It was said that the agreement about the construction of the Agarak-Shinuair sector of the Syunik-Center high-voltage line will be signed by the end of July–and its construction will be carried out within 15 months.

The agreement also specifies the schedule of work on feasibility study of the use of hydro-energy potential of the river Arax. According to the minister–the sides agreed to periodically discuss the process of the realization of agreemen’s.

According to Iran’s Energy Minister–during the negotiations they also discussed the possibility of implementing further programs in the energy sphere–outlined specific trends of their realization.

According to him–within the framework of its visit to Armenia–the Iranian delegation held a series of meetings with Chairman of the State Committee for Water Resources Management Gagik Martirossian.

During the meeting the sides discussed the possibility of realizing joint programs in this sphere. The Iranian side recommended the committee’s chairman to cooperate with the regional organization of UNESCO on urban drinking water headquartered in Iran.

Energy is the motive power in Armenian-Iranian relations that can become a locomotive for all other spheres," President Robert Kocharian said meeting with Iranian Energy Minister Habib Olla Bitarafi on July 10.

Pointing out the importance of consistency in fulfilling the agreemen’s reached–the president expressed a wish to make this cooperation in the energy sphere more effective.

According to the presidential press service–Bitarafi said that last year’s official visit of the Armenian president to Iran became a turning-point in Armenian-Iranian relations. According to him–the memorandum on mutual understanding signed during the visit became a kind of declaration of the development of cooperation.

Saying that cooperation in the sphere of energy occupies leading positions and serious progress has already been registered–the minister emphasized that the partnership is entering a new stage and joint projects are being realized.

He added that agreemen’s about four key issues were reached in the course of discussions with Armenian colleagues: exchange of electricity–implementation of joint projects–construction of a hydro-power plant–scientific-technical cooperation and research work.

Political agreemen’s confirmed during the meetings of the leaders of Armenia and Iran must find their practical expression by means of expanded partnership in the economic sphere–Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margarian said during the July 10 meeting with Iranian Energy Minister Habib Olla Bitarafi.

According to Margarian–cooperation between the two countries also aims to resolve regional problems through joint efforts.

"Common regional interests make us give more active and practical nature to our cooperation," Margarian underscored.

Considering the strengthening and development of relations between Armenia and Iran as a task of strategic importance–Bitarafi said that the outlined programs pursue not only commercial but also far-going regional goals.

At the same time–speaking about the three major partnership programs envisaged by the Memorandum on Mutual Understanding signed by the two countries’ energy ministers in Tehran–the minister said that the construction of the Agarak switching point–foreseen under one of them–will be completed in one month.

The two are also reported to have discussed cooperation programs in the sphere of water resources management.

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