President Kocharian meets with Putin and Aliev on the sidelines of the CIS Summit

CHISINAU (Armenpress)–Foreign ministers of CIS member countries–together with heads of their states–met in the Moldavian capital of Chisinau for a recurrent CIS summit. At a session presided over by Russia’s Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov–the group discussed the need to make more efficient the activities of CIS bodies.

They also discussed an inter-state–joint effort–draft program to fight crime–which includes a draft agreement to establish a Central Asian CIS Anti-Terrorist Center.

According to Ivanov–CIS foreign ministers also prepared a draft agreement on establishing a united system for anti-air defense and for releasing money for development.

The leaders of Armenia–Belarus–Kazakhstan–the Russian Federation and Tajikistan signed an agreement on the code and legal status of the Collective Security Treaty (CST) organization. The sides will ask their parliamen’s to ratify the agreement by May 2003.

Itar-Tass–quoting Russia’s deputy chief of staff Sergey Prihodko–reported that the signing of the agreement "symbolizes the completion of an important phase in the process of forming CST. The CST organization would be a full-fledged international body able to respond to new global threats–including the threat of international terrorism," said Prihodko.

The implementation of the agreement would raise effectiveness of military and political cooperation between CST member countries–and benefit their national security–provision of self-governance and territorial integrity–and ensure active participation in the international fight against terrorism and other threats endangering peace and stability.


BAKU (RFE/RL)–The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia held talks Sunday evening but gave no sign of a breakthrough in their long-running dispute over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh–Azeri television reported.

Azeri President Heydar Aliev and his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian had one-to-one talks lasting two hours in Moldova’s capital Chisinau on the fringes of the CIS summit. Emerging to speak to reporters–they said they could not reveal details of their discussion about Karabagh–citing the sensitivity of the peace process–but said they agreed on the need to meet again.

"I cannot say that there are any definite results. Those we do not have yet," Kocharian was quoted as saying–according to Azerbaijan’s Lider TV.

The television station quoted Aliev as saying: "Resolving this conflict is a very important process and therefore I believe that bilateral negotiations should continue."

Afterwards the two presidents briefed envoys from the Minsk Group on their talks.

The two could meet again as soon as October 13 when both Aliev and Kocharian are expected in the Turkish city of Istanbul for another regional summit.

Meanwhile–about 10,000 protesters took to the streets of Baku on Saturday–criticizing Aliev for failing to solve any of the nation’s problems and calling for his resignation. They criticized Aliev for failing to resolve the Karabagh conflict–demanding forceful measures to "free" Karabagh–dubbing it "occupied territory." They said recent hawkish coverage of the dispute in state-run media was just a smoke screen to detract attention from the government’s inactivity.


YEREVAN (RFE-RL)–President Vladimir Putin met with President Robert Kocharian–on Sunday–welcoming what he described as a major headway in relations between the two allied countries in recent months.

The meeting took place in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on the sidelines of a summit of the ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States.

"The quality of relations between Russia and Armenia has changed," the official Itar-Tass news agency quoted Putin as saying. Putin pointed to the anticipated signing of an equities-for-debt agreement between the two governmen’s. But he reportedly cautioned that "much remains to be done" in solving problems hampering development of bilateral ties.

Kocharian–for his part–was quoted as saying that the swap deal settling Armenia’s $98 million state debt to Russia will be signed ‘in the near future.’ "I hope that a visit to Armenia by the Russian prime minister will take place–enabling us to focus on this difficult issue," he said.

Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian–who has represented the Armenian government in debt talks with the Russia’s–said on Saturday that the deal will likely be signed by November 10. Sarkisian was speaking to government-controlled media on his return from a working visit to Russia. He said it may have been his "most useful" trip abroad.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov–speaking after talks with Sarkisian last week–reaffirmed Russia’s strong commitment to close military ties with Armenia. Ivanov said Moscow may soon reinforce a recently formed joint Russian-Armenian military unit based in northwestern Armenia.

The two defense chiefs signed two more agreemen’s on bilateral military cooperation.

On Monday–Putin welcomed the opening in Moscow of an international conference of Armenia’s from around the world–according to Itar-Tass. The conference–attended by more than 300 people from 43 countries–was organized by the Union of Armenia’s of Russia. In a written message read out by his chief of staff Alexander Voloshin–Putin said that "Armenia’s have been making a considerable contribution to the development of our state over many centuries–and now many achievemen’s in science–culture and business are associated with the names of many Armenia’s."

"I’m sure that fruitful work of the forum will help to deepen scientific and economic relations between Russia and Armenia," the message reads.


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