Kocharian Meets with President of European Commission, Discusses Karabakh, Investment in Armenia

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–President Robert Kocharinan met with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso Thursday to discuss issues connected with the settlement of the Karabakh Conflict. Kocharian stated, during a joint press conference, that he does not think the Karabakh conflict can be solved before the presidential elections in Armenia in 2008.
According to the President, the current state of the negotiation process does not give hope for a solution before the end of the forthcoming election.
"We have come along way over the past years and have come to an agreement on a number of principal issues," said Kocharian
Solana expressed his appreciation for the "constructive development of relations with Armenia," adding "the European Union is very satisfied with how Armenia is accomplishing the Action Plan of the European Neighborhood Policy."
The Secretary General mentioned that with the Armenian President he discussed
Later that day, Kocharian addressed an Armenian-Belgian business forum where he spoke about the speedy growth of Armenia’s banking sector noting that the banking sector has been the most dynamically growing sector of the Armenian economy over the last 3-4 years.
Five foreign banks have opened branches in Armenia this year and the sector is expected to grow 70 percent towards the end of the year, he said.
President Kocharian also spoke about the insurance industry, saying that Armenia has insurance legislation that complies fully with European norms and the government is negotiating with several big foreign insurances companies to bring them to Armenia.
"We hope that a German and a French insurance company will arrive in Armenia this year," he added.
Kocharian also highlighted the friendly business environment of the country, noting that during his presidency no foreign company suffered a loss.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and EU Commissionioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner presided over the opening of an exhibition called Armenia’s 12 Capitals at the European Commission premises in Brussels. President Robert Kocharian attended the ceremony.

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