Trade And Security Focus of Kocharian’s Germany Visit

BERLIN (Armenpress/DPA)–Leading a delegation on an official visit to Germany–Armenian president Robert Kocharian arrived in Berlin on January 14 on a two-day working visit. Meeting with German President Johannes Rau–Kocharian discussed the conflict regulation process of Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) as well as the role of Armenia in Caucasus region. A statement by Rau said the Armenian leader stressed the fundamentally different positions of his country and Azerbaijan on the MKR issue.

Following the meeting between the two presidents–Armenian Minister for Economy And Finance Vartan Khachatrian and German State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office Dr. Klaus Scharioth signed an economic cooperation agreement to determine the direction of bilateral cooperation in the coming few years and scope of the financial aid provided by Germany to Armenia.

Kocharian later met with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to discuss MKR and Armenian-Turkish relations from the standpoint of Turkey’s membership to the EU. Fischer encouraged Kocharian to continue recently started talks between Armenian and Turkish foreign ministers.

During a meeting between German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder Kocharian discussed trade and security issues. Kocharian also met with the President of Germany’s Bundestag (Parliament)Wolfgang Thierse.

Within the framework of his visit President Kocharian also met with German businessmen at the German Federation of Industry and delivered a speech stressing that–with accession to the Council of Europe–Armenia has registered a considerable progress in building a democratic society–and added–"With our accession to the WTO– we have upgraded our business and trade environment to the required levels of liberalism in the economy. However–we are still in transition and we know our problems. The levels of poverty–shortfalls in governance–economic and social difficulties remain matters of major concern. We will continue to address our problems vigorously. We do this in cooperation with our partners," said Kocharian

He also spoke of GDP growth in 2002 and the rise of industrial production in Armenia–revealing that the European Union remains Armenia’s major trade partner. "It is our major objective to maintain stability in growth and to translate the success of our macroeconomic development into prosperity for ordinary people–into further growth of businesses and jobs–into the expansion of domestic and foreign investmen’s," stressed Kocharian

"I will conclude by iterating our strong commitment to considerably increase the economic agenda of our bilateral relations with Germany. Armenia has received from Germany–73 million Euros in loans and 42 million Euros of assistance since 1993. In 2002 trade between our countries exceeded $60 million. This figure can and should grow. We strongly encourage your direct engagement in business in Armenia. There are sound institutional bases in Armenia to support your entry into the Armenian economy. There are broad regional benefits of doing business in Armenia. Armenia is and will remain the most organized country in our region and can certainly be a reliable partner for Germany. An Armenian-German business forum is to take place in the autumn. It will certainly serve as an impetus for the development of our economic relations. There is a strong political will on the part of our government–that–we hope–is fully shared by our partners–by the leadership of Germany," concluded Kocharian.

President Kocharian will attend a concert at the Berlin State Opera Theatre by Armenian artists living in Europe.

On January 15 he will visit Nordrhein-Westfalia to meet with authorities.

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