ANKARA: Levon Ter-Petrosyan: Armenia Cannot Become Economically Powe

LEVON TER-PETROSYAN: ARMENIA CANNOT BECOME ECONOMICALLY POWERFUL WITHOUT THE RESOLUTION OF THE NK CONFLICT
Jan Soykok

Journal of Turkish weekly
Aug. 21, 2006

Jan SOYKOK (JTW)- "Armenia cannot become economically powerful
without the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh (Garabagh) conflict,"
said former Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan, news agencies
report. Former President Ter-Petrosyan voiced this statement in a
closed meeting with the Cabinet before resigning from his post in
1998. The record of this closed meeting has recently been published
in the Armenian pro-opposition media outlets.

Commenting on the reasons why he resigned from the president post in
1998, Ter-Petrosyan said Azerbaijan and Turkey are the most natural
and suitable economic partners for Armenia.

"Regrettably, due to the known reasons, it is impossible to use the
potential of economic cooperation between Armenia and Turkey. On the
other hand, Armenia remained uninvolved in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
main export oil pipeline due to the conflict. No matter who rules
Armenia, he will fail to ensure normal economic development of the
country as long as the Nagorno Karabakh conflict remains unresolved.

It will be impossible to solve the existing public and economic
problems without solving the conflict. The closed borders with
Azerbaijan and Turkey, no railway access to the environment leads to
increasing transport expenses, reduces Armenian’s export opportunities
and looses interest in foreign investors to invest capital in our
country" the ex-president underlined.

Similarly Dr. Nilgun Gulcan told the JTW that Armenia is the only
country who cannot benefit from the regional integrations: "Turkey,
Georgia and Azerbaijan all are in close economic co-operation.

Azerbaijain’s economy has growth dramatically. Georgia has enjoyed
the integrated economies. The BTC pipeline and other coming projects
nourishes all three economies. Turkey is a big economy with 75 million
population. It is the 17th biggest economy in the world and Armenia
has no access to this great economy while Georgians and Azerbaijanis
export and import to the Turkish economy. Both countries have not
benefited from Turkish economy’s size till now. But now they have more
financial sources and tools. The trade between these three countries
will increase radically in coming years. Armenia is an exceptional
country in the region and Armenia should not accuse other countries
for its poor economic performance. If you have problems with all of
your neighbors, it means that something is wrong with your policies".

Former President Ter-Petrosyan voiced this statement in a closed
meeting with the Cabinet before resigning from his post in 1998. The
record of this closed meeting has recently been published in the
Armenian pro-opposition media outlets.

Ter-Petrosyan also said during the active military operations,
the volume of Armenia’s economy decreased twice, and if the Nagorno
Karabagh conflict is not resolved, the economic development tempo
might fall even stop once and for all.

In the emergency meeting, the ex-president also stressed that Armenians
won the battle not the war, and the international community will not
tolerate the long-term status quo in Nagorno Karabagh.

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