Russia-Armenia conference on regional cooperation opens in Samara

Russia-Armenia confer on regional cooperation opens in Samara
By Lyudmila Yarmakova

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 14, 2004 Friday

SAMARA, May 14 — A conference devoted to inter-regional cooperation
between Russia and Armenia opened in the city of Samara on Friday.

Delegations of the two countries comprising parliamentarians,
businesspeople, public leaders and regional officials are headed by
Speaker of the Federation Council (upper house of Russia’s parliament)
Sergei Mironov and Chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia Artur
Bagdasaryan, respectively.

The conference participants expressed the view that direct ties
between regions are a vital component of cooperation between Russia
and Armenia, which also can boost this cooperation strengthening and
developing it.

Mironov called Armenia “Russia’s reliable strategic partner in the
international arena.” He stressed that bilateral economic cooperation
is also developing rather dynamically.

Last year’s bilateral trade turnover increased by almost 35 percent,
as against 2002. Mironov admitted, however that “the economic
potential is just 35-40 percent used.” According to the Russian
speaker, the two states have reserves for expanding cooperation,
such as interregional ties.

Bagdasaryan has agreed with Mironov saying “ties between regions make
it possible to solve many problems more quickly and effectively than
it is done in the centre.”

The Armenian official pointed out that Armenia has adopted the law on
local self-government, which does not restrict the sphere of activities
of local administrations, but encourages them in every way, including
international activity.

Badgasaryan also admitted, “the positive dynamics in bilateral
relations exists, but the cooperation falls short of possibilities.”

Conferences of this kind, in the view of the Armenian speaker, should
be held annually. He proposed to hold the next conference in Yerevan.