Putin Kocharian Discuss Economic Ties

(AP/Itar-Tass)–Boosting trade between the two former Soviet republics topped the agenda at Friday’s meeting between Armenian President Robert Kocharian and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Putin noted that trade has increased 34 percent in recent years. "This is a record indicator that we are moving in the right direction."

Kocharian recalled last year’s major agreement that gave Russia financial control over Armenia’s sole nuclear power plant–in exchange for the cancellation of $40 million dollar debts to Russian nuclear fuel suppliers.

The start of true economic cooperation came with that "major equity-for-debt agreement," Kocharian said. "I would like to say with utmost confidence that we started and are moving together on all issues."

The meeting took place on the second day of Kocharian’s working visit to Moscow that included meetings with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and the chief executive of the Gazprom natural gas giant–Aleksei Miller.

Kocharian welcomed the increased bilateral commercial ties of recent years–saying–"Until recently–we only talked about military cooperation while mentioning that economic interaction is lagging. Now I can state with full confidence that we began to move in all directions at a very even pace; it serves as a very serious impetus to effective cooperation and diversification."


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