Atkinson’s report reflects his own views, UK ambassador says


Feb 18 2005

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 18, ARMENPRESS: In an interview to a Russian
Regnum news agency, Great Britain’s ambassador to Armenia, Thorda
Abbot-Watt said her government hailed the EU decision to include
Armenia’s into its New Neighborhood initiative, adding also that
political relations between Armenia and Great Britain remain to be
close. She said the first progress from the Neighborhood Policy is
expected this year.
She said Great Britain will continue to support the activity of
the OSCE Minsk Group. “I hope Sir Brian Fall, a special UK
representative for the South Caucasus will visit Yerevan this spring
to meet with top Armenian leaders and discuss plans for further
strengthening of bilateral ties,” she said.
The ambassador said the embassy will continue to work for
implementation of development programs targeting two Armenian
provinces of Tavush and Gegharkunik. She said the programs will be
officially launched on February 21.
She also reiterated that the Government of the United Kingdom has
offered to pay 10% of Armenia’s World Bank debt repayments until
2015. The British Department for International Development (DFID)
will pay the money into a World Bank trust fund. The International
Development Association (the World Bank agency which provides funding
on concessional terms to the poorest developing countries) will in
turn reduce the repayments which Armenia makes over the next ten
The British Government have offered this financial help in
recognition of the difficulties which low income countries face in
trying to reduce poverty while at the same time service their
international debt. The objective is to free additional resources to
enable Armenia to achieve its development goals. Armenia is one of
five countries to benefit in this way, all chosen in recognition that
they have sound public expenditure policies in place which will
ensure that the money saved will be targeted towards poverty
reduction. The other countries are Mongolia, Vietnam, Nepal and Sri
Armenia is due to repay the World Bank US$ 8 million, US$ 11
million and US$ 12 million in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively. The
United Kingdom contribution will be 10% of this – US$800,000,
US$1.1million and US$1.2million. Over the ten years of the initiative
(until 2015), the total United Kingdom contribution will be just
under US$20 million.
The ambassador also downplayed an opinion spread among Armenian
political circles that a resolution adopted by PACE on the basis of a
report by a British delegate to PACE David Atkinson, perceived here
as “anti-Armenian,” reflects the position of Great Britain.
“Though the report, on the basis of which PACE adopted the
resolution was drafted by a member of the British Parliament, it
reflects Atkinson’s personal views, but not the position of the
British government. In the first place we are all interested in the
peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict, as it blocks
the economic development of the region,” she concluded.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress