Kocharian and Merkel Meet in Berlin

BERLIN (Armenpress)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian met Thursday with Germany chancellor Angela Merkel. Kocharian and Merkel discussed bilateral ties and agreed to help boost business contacts between Armenia and Germany with a focus on banking, insurance, small and medium-sized businesses and to strengthen the legal framework necessary for expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation. Kocharian and Merkel also discussed cooperation between the European Union and Armenia. Merkel said after taking over the chairmanship in the EU Germany will step up ties with Armenia within the frameworks of the European Neighborhood Policy. The two leaders also touched several regional problems. Before meeting Merkel Kocharian met wit Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit. "Armenia attaches great attention to regional cooperation. We think that the settlement of conflicts should not be considered as a precondition for establishing dialogue and cooperation," Kocharian said while addressing the Bertelsmann Fund in Berlin. The President said, "Regional cooperation should be considered as an efficient measure for the building of trust targeted at resolution of existing discrepancies. It’s obvious that unsettled conflicts impede the process of natural development of the South Caucasus. That is why we adhere to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The OSCE Minsk Group does a great deal of work to bring our positions closer but unfortunately the intense talks leave little space for optimism. "Our principal position is that the people of Karabakh have asserted their right for self-determination. This was done in accordance with international law. Many independent states emerged after the decline of former empires. The independence of Nagorno Karabakh was obtained after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moreover, it was the time of the end of great ideological separation. "Nagorno Karabakh has never been a part of independent Azerbaijan. Successfully building its state system the Nagorno Karabakh Republic has probed its right to existence. It regularly holds democratic presidential and parliamentary elections and we are the witnesses of the development of civic society. A generation, which is the embodiment and guarantor of this state system, has already grown. We do not remember a single state which would abdicate from independence after enjoying it for 15 years. Karabakh has no intention of the kind either. We are speaking of irreversibility of the changes that occurred in the consciousness of the people," concluded the president.

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