Armenian President not to attend NATO summit in Istanbul


May 10 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 10, ARMENPRESS: Ashot Kocharian, a spokesman for
president Robert Kocharian (not a relation) who has marked today the
first year in his tenure, told reporters that president Kocharian
will visit Russia on May 13-15. “Armenian-Russian relations are
of strategic-partnership nature and they are an important factor of
securing economic growth and security for Armenia,” the spokesman said,
adding that bilateral relations have progressed during the last year,
especially in economy.

He said during the visit Kocharian will confer a number of issues with
president Putin, prime minister Mikhail Fradkov and also with chief
managers of gas supplying companies to Armenia and with representatives
of business community.

Armenian president Robert Kocharian will not travel to Turkish Istanbul
in late June to attend a NATO summit, the spokesman said. He said
Armenia will be represented by foreign minister Oskanian.

“This is not determined by Armenia-NATO relationship as they are now on
the rise,” the spokesman said, adding that Armenia’s cooperation with
NATO proceeds within the frameworks of Partnership for Peace program
“and last year president Kocharian was in Brussels to meet with top
NATO officials and also NATO secretary general visited Armenia last
year.” The spokesman said Kocharian’s decision not to travel to Turkey
hinges rather on the current level of Turkish-Armenian relations.

According to him, last year marked no major progress in
Armenian-Turkish relations. Dialogue on the level of foreign ministers
continued, though. Armenia has always expressed its readiness to
engage in dialogue without preconditions and establish multifaceted
relationship with Turkey.