European Firms Anxious to Invest Millions in Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–A group of entrepreneurs from Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia offered to invest millions of dollars in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s economy during a visit to Stepanakert on Friday.

The businessmen met with the republic’s leadership and received a positive response to their plans.

According to Ashot Grigorian, the Armenian-born owner of a Slovakian energy consulting firm who organized the trip, they are specifically interested in the local energy, construction and agriculture sectors. He said they would like to start out with pilot projects worth a total of at least $15 million.

“For the time being, we are talking about each of the firms investing only several million dollars,” Grigorian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “But if the process goes well, they will invest more serious sums.”

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian was quoted by his office as welcoming the foreign investors visiting Stepanakert and promising to support them.

Georgi Petrosian, Karabakh’s foreign minister, meanwhile said the businessmen were unfazed by likely Azerbaijani protests to their investment plans.

“The energy sector is particularly attractive to them because the government of Artsakh (Karabakh) has adopted an exceedingly progressive program,” said Grigorian. “They are going to build a cascade of hydro-electric stations. Artsakh is laying the foundation of a modern energy system that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the South Caucasus.”

Under that program, Karabakh will stop importing electricity from Armenia in 2012 and be able to export power generated by its fast-flowing rivers in the following years. Ara Harutiunian, the Karabakh prime minister, described “food security and energy independence” as his government’s chief economic priorities in late December.

In Grigorian’s words, any new investment in the country will mark a step forward in Karabakh’s drive to gain international recognition. “I think that apart from economic calculations, people in Artsakh should also take into account the fact that when a plant is opened here [by foreigners] it marks a further step towards recognition of their independence,” he said.

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8 Comments

  1. Pahakazor Hayrenyats said:

    Wonderful! Armenia’s future and long-term longevity depends solely on our ability to keep Artsakh. The more foreign direct investments we have in Artsakh the better.

  2. varoujan said:

    We know more will follow, however all should be laid on solid foundation free of occupation as well as free of corruption, so it would proudly be called the Switzerland of caucasus! then the sky is the limit

  3. George Apelian said:

    Hrashali yev skanchelie. Abris Ashod Krikorian!
    Aysbisi kaylerov gernank esel:Gharapaghe mern e.

    Wonderful step. Artsakh can look forward with more hope and assurance. Bravooooo!!!

  4. papken hartunian said:

    We need to establish weapons industries to secure our homeland. Foreign investments usually comes with strings attached. Our scientists must move to Artsakh and start to invent and manufacture modern weapons. It seems to me taht we have lost last 20 years. I hope we will utilize the next 20 years to be able to protect our homeland and our people from Turks.
    Artsakh Live Beyond For Ever!

  5. Edward Demian said:

    One great step. To be lauded in its forward thinking. We need to pay more attention to the officials who were instrumental in this decision making. They need to be encouraged to greater heights. Enough of these power-plants and Artzach could become financially self sufficient. But, let us not forget that Artzakh’s survival depends on more than just a good economy; Artsack needs people. A higher birth rate and an active resettlement program that should bring in at least one family in a week. The various churches scaterred throughout the world could identify, contact and encourage various families and individuals to settle. I travelled the world and found Armenian Individuals and communities scatterred and isolated and disorganized allmost everywhere. Does anyone know that there are about 300,000 People in a remote region of Moldova, all residing around the Armenian monastary of Hatch Gadar, who are of Armenian ancestry, they keep the feasts, and traditions, but no one speaks the language or have Armenian names. These people could easily be induced to resettle and farm. Thats just one example. Siberia is full of Armenian survivors from the Soviet Germag Chart. I wish that I could do more.

  6. Sirvart Garabedian said:

    Indeed it is a wonderful news to know Mr. Ashot Krikorian’s initiative to open more doors for other foreign investors which is a sign of more stability in Artsakh, more openning of jobs for the youth of Artsakh, Hopefully everything goes well i expect even more tourists might be curious to visit caucasus Switzerland. I was astonished of its beautiful green mountains that really reminds of people who visited Switzerland. I couldn’t believe myself that i was walking so freely on once a battlefield ground so happy, its native Armenians are so confident and brave, besides all the hardship they went throug during the cruel unlawfully war by the enemy Azeris’ attack on Artsakh, they are full of determination they won’t tolerate to give one inch back to the enemy. Besides they are reliable, content, very hospitable people. Long live Artsakh and its native Armenian people. Nine days passed so quickly of my stay at my priest cousin’s house in Shushi in a building facing Ghazanchecvoth Cathedral, i can’t wait to visit free Artsakh again promised myself i will visit again as i fell in love with our free and beautiful Artsakh. I pray for more prosperous Artsakh forever.

  7. Shant D said:

    great this should start a new journey for karabakh nagorno “artsakh” hopefully a a blessed situation something to strive for and automatically generate lot more income for all teh people there, azeri or armenian!

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