Opposition’s modus operandi affect country’s image, Kocharian says


May 21 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 21, ARMENPRESS: In a televised appearance on May 20
evening Armenian president Robert Kocharian described his recent
visit to Moscow as “very effective and fruitful,” saying a variety of
key issues of bilateral relations topped the agenda of his meetings.
“During my talks new issues came to the foreground and the meetings
took even more time than previously scheduled,” he said.

Kocharian said he has invited Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to
pay an official visit to Yerevan, the date of which is being now
considered. Armenia’s president said also one of the subjects of his
talks with Putin were Armenia’s domestic developments. “Putin was
well-informed about the recent developments here, expressing his
concern and rendering his full support to the incumbent Armenian
authorities,” he said.

“Moscow’s attitude to any development in Armenia that is aimed at
weakening its positions is very negative. The reason is that a weak
Armenia, weak Armenian authorities may be prone to other influences,
which does not stem from the interests of our bilateral relationship,
since Armenia is Russia’s strategic ally in the region and that is
why all developments that can cause such problems are viewed as a
threat to bilateral relations,” Kocharian said.

Referring to his recent visits abroad when Armenia’s foreign partners
were eager to learn what the opposition wants, president Kocharian
said: “They all asked what the opposition wants, saying that they
could not make out from reports what its goal was. This brings in
some elements of carelessness, which is not positive in general. The
street campaign of the opposition is not taken seriously abroad,”
Kocharian, adding that he was not happy about it at all.

“Opposition is part of Armenia’s political system and when the attitude
towards its is unclear, this extends also on the whole country. It
is here where the opposition should feel the responsibility for
the country, as apart from the authorities, it too has to build its
international image,” Kocharian said, adding that unfortunately the
opposition has devaluated by its way of acting what is perceived as

Kocharian visits local factory


May 21 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 21, ARMENPRESS: President Robert Kocharian visited
today a local Hayasa Group company. It was established in 1981 to
produce stockinet. Today it operates on local capital manufacturing
goods mainly for export, sold in France, USA, Russia. Among its
products are clothes and uniform for women and children, hunters,
military. Orders are coming also from China as well but the company
fears that it is not yet ready to expand production. It employs 240
people with 35,000 average salary. It has a division for deaf people
where 25-30 people work.

According to Hayasa executive director, Eduard Harutunian, last year
200 million drams worth output was produced, 80 percent of which
was exported. It is not profitable to work with the domestic market
as it is small with lots of imported goods, the company director
said. He also said that light industry has always been prospective
in Armenia. It demands lots of investment. One of current challenges
are high interest rates at the banks, Harutunian said.

After the meeting, Robert Kocharian spoke to reporters. He said that
the company has increased its production volumes 3 times compared to
the last year. In general, a rise of 90 percent is observed in the
light industry, he said. One of the aims of this visit was to learn
about the difficulties and challenges that the company is facing and
to understand what are the ways to boost it.

“Step by step working with each sector today we have 9 percent
economic growth in 4 months,” Kocharian noted. Armenian president
said they are trying to boost Armenian export through participation
in international exhibition. He also said that no question was raised
about the influence of political development on the economy during
the meetings with the business people. “Business people intuitively
feel that no serious development are expected and are concerned with
more practical issues,” he said.

Francophonia week launched in Yerevan


May 21 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 21, ARMENPRESS: The week of Francophonia (May 21-25)
was announced today by “France-Armenia: Cultural Dialogue” conference
at the Yerevan State University (YSU). YSU rector Radik Martirossian
greeted that participants and mentioned that the conference aims to
reinforce Francophonia in Armenia, contribute to the development of
multi-culture civilization and build on a century-long Francophonia
tradition. Attaching importance to the role of French in international
field, Martirossian said teaching of French is on a high level in
Armenia. He expressed his feeling of pride that one of the biggest
experts in Armenology, Antoine Mayer was French.

French Ambassador Henry Cuny greeted the participants and said:
“It is not possible to be a francophone and not to be a humanist.”
The Ambassador informed that Armenia has expressed willingness to
join the International Association of Francophonia as an observer
and its membership will be approved in the pending November session.

Minister of education and science Sego Yeritsian said that development
of French in the country will ensure that Armenian are able to read one
of leading world literature in the original. He said that this week is
marked by boosting cooperation between the two countries. S. Yeritsian
assured that they will continue the policy of developing Francophonia
in the country making such initiations more regular.

The Francophonia week is initiated by National Assembly, Armenia
ministry of education and science, YSU, French University of Armenia,
University after Briusov, Alliance Frances and will be marked by an
extensive range of events.

CSTO is better prepared to face fresh threats than NATO


RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – Chairman of the committee for CIS
affairs and ties with compatriots of the State Duma (lower house)
Andrei Kokoshin believes that the Collective Security Treaty
Organisation (or CSTO, which includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) is better prepared for
countering the threats of the 21st century than Nato. He said this
at his meeting with Nato and Russian experts devoted to international
security issues.

In his words, Nato is loaded with the burden of the cold war years,
and its large-scale bureaucracy is slow in turning towards the most
burning issues of the international community.

Kokoshin pointed out Nato’s inefficiency citing the 1999 operation
in Kosovo unauthorised by the UN and in violation of international law.

“Russia and its CSTO allies are deeply concerned over the situation
in Afghanistan where the US military rule has been transferred to
Nato. Drug flows from Afghanistan grow incessantly,” said Kokoshin.

According to him, it is surprising that this is not yet high on
Nato’s agenda.

Instead of modernising its structures, developing more actively the
new forms and ways of combating threats to civilisation, Nato opted
for the expansion and admitted new members, which aroused negative
reaction in Russia and other CIS countries,” said the parliamentarian.

“The flights of Nato’s AWACS reconnaissance aircraft and F-16 fighters
along Russia’s borders now that terrorism is increasing in southern
Europe, Iran, Uzbekistan, and other parts of the world struck many
politicians in CSTO countries as absurd,” said Kokoshin.

He believes that “Nato’s expansion has contributed nothing to the
efficiency of the alliance’s fight against terrorism, drug mafia,
proliferation of WMD and its delivery equipment.” According to
Kokoshin, this confirmed once again that the Russians who opposed
Nato’s eastward expansion were right.

Kocharian on role of council of CIS DMs


RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 21 (RIA Novosti’s Gamlet Matevosyan) – The Council of
CIS Defense Ministers is one of the most important and effective
structures in the Commonwealth, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan
told participants in the council’s session in Yerevan.

The President pointed out the importance of cooperation within the
framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Collective
Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan), Robert Kocharyan’s press service told
RIA Novosti. He believes that such meetings boost bilateral relations.

On his part, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, the council’s
chairman, expressed satisfaction with the session.

According to him, a wide range of issues, mainly military-political
and military-technical cooperation, was considered in Yerevan.

The participants discussed reforms in the CIS armed forces and
technical re-equipment of the armies.

In conclusion, the Armenian President wished them success and service
“in efficient and disciplined armies”.

CIS DMs meet in Armenia


RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Council of the Defense Ministers
of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has held a meeting
in Armenia. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov made a series of
statements after the meeting.

He said Russia had set up a body to control portable anti-aircraft
missile complexes.

However, the problem of control over the complexes was not discussed
at today’s meeting, according to Mr Ivanov.

“The presidents of our countries already adopted all decisions on
the matter at their meeting in Yalta, in September 2003. We are
implementing the decisions,” said Mr Ivanov.

Mr Ivanov said Russia had notified its partners of the emergence of the
body, as a number of CIS states had not established such bodies yet.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) does not plan to
enlarge, thus far, according to Mr Ivanov.

“There are no plans on this score,” Mr Ivanov said when asked about
the possibility of enlarging the CSTO (which involves Russia, Belarus,
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan).

“Other countries, not parties to the CSTO, have not approached us
with relevant requests,” added the minister.

The CIS defense ministers are ready to agree on their positions on
nuclear non-proliferation.

“The participants in the meeting of the CIS Council of Defense
Ministers unanimously supported the proposal to agree on our countries’
positions on such a burning issue,” said Mr Ivanov.

Speaking about the CIS single anti-aircraft defense system, Mr
Ivanov that it was a viable and efficient system. “The system has
proved itself to be efficient during a recent military exercise,”
said the minister.

The anti-terrorist contingents of some of the CIS countries,
specifically Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, will
take part in a military exercise in Moldova in late June, according
to the Russian minister. He added that major exercises would be also
conducted in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in early August. Russia will
send its transport and combat aircraft to take part in the exercise.
Russian permanent alert units will also be airlifted to the region,
according to Mr Ivanov.

Mr Ivanov also touched on a sensitive problem of housing for the
military. He believes mortgage schemes for the military would make
army service more attractive.

Mr Ivanov recalled that the Russian government had considered, on
Thursday, accumulation and mortgage housing schemes for the military.

“This will be a major step towards resolving the problem,” he said.

The minister added that housing schemes would cover officers and
warrant officers, as well as the rank and file.

“Serving in the Armed Forces will finally become attractive,” said
the minister.

The mortgage scheme will allow to amend the present situation when
servicemen have to resign from military service to receive free
housing, according to Mr Ivanov.

When speaking about the possibility of Armenia’s joining NATO,
Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan said the issue was not on
the country’s foreign policy agenda.

“When I was asked about whether the Russian military base would
withdraw from Armenia yesterday, I said it was a rhetorical question
and the answer was obviously ‘no.’ As to membership in NATO, the
matter is obviously not on Armenia’s foreign policy agenda either,”
said Mr Sarkisyan.

Mr Ivanov, who is holding the chair at the CIS Council of Defense
Ministers, briefed Armenian President Robert Kocharyan on the decisions
adopted by the ministers after the council meeting.

Mr Ivanov emphasized that the decisions would promote security and
stability throughout the CIS.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Kocharian: Iran-Armenia gas pipeline will benefit Russia


RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russian companies, which are seriously
represented in the Armenian energy system, will get dividends from
the construction of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, President Robert
Kocharyan of Armenia said in an interview with the Public Television
of the republic.

In his words, one of the issues on the agenda of his May 13-15 talks
in Moscow was the construction of the above-mentioned pipeline. “It
is a highly interesting project that will benefit everyone, with
the exception of those who do not wish well to Armenia,” said the

Iran will provide gas in return for Armenian electricity, said Robert
Kocharyan. “Since Russian companies are seriously represented in
Armenia’s energy system – Gazprom and Itera own 55% of ArmRosgazprom
and RAO UES owns about 40% of Armenian generating capacities, they
will benefit, too. This means that they will get major dividends from
the deal,” said the head of state.

On the other hand, he stressed that this will not lead to a reduction
in Russian gas deliveries. Armenia will use Russian gas for domestic
consumption because Russian gas is cheaper. “Russia in the person of
its companies will benefit because the safety of the Armenian energy
system will increase tenfold: we will be able to ensure reliable
gas provision even in case of an accident at one of the pipelines,”
said Kocharyan.

Moscow has a negative attitude toward actions designed to weaken the
standing of Armenia, he believes. “The President of Russia is informed
sufficiently well about the internal political events in Armenia and
is concerned over them. He has expressed his unambiguous support for
me and the authorities of Armenia,” said the Armenian president.

According to him, Russia believes that Armenia, under weak authorities,
may succumb to outside influences. “This does not meet the interests
of our bilateral relations, since Armenia is a strategic partner
of Russia in the South Caucasus,” the president said. Consequently,
any actions that may create such problems are viewed “as a threat to
the development of bilateral relations.”

Robert Kocharyan said he had invited President Putin to visit
Yerevan. “The invitation was accepted and we are discussing the date
now,” he said.

The president of Armenia was the first head of state to visit Russia
after the May 7 inauguration of President Vladimir Putin, which, he
thinks, “points to the depth and warmth in Russo-Armenian relations.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Joint Russia-US operation of Gabalin radar station is impossible

Joint Russia-US operation of Gabalin radar station is impossible
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said after
his talks with Armenian opposite number Serge Sarkisyan on Thursday
that Russia considered it impossible to operate its radar station in
Gabalin, northern Azerbaijan, jointly with the United States.

Asked to comment on some media reports that the Russian military
facility in Azerbaijan could allegedly be operated jointly with the
United States under a long-term agreement, Ivanov replied that he
could hardly imagine how an installation working in the interests of
the Russian Space Troops could be used jointly with the United States.

“It’s hard to imagine even if someone’s imagination is very great,”
he noted.

Armenia purchases two Il-76 planes at preferential price

Armenia purchases two Il-76 planes at preferential price
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Armenia has bought two Russian Il-76 military
transport aircraft at Russia’s internal prices, Russian Defence
Minister Sergei Ivanov said after talks with his Armenian opposite
number Serge Sarkisyan.

“Two Il-76 military transport planes landed in Armenia on Thursday.
Armenia had purchased them from Russia at preferential internal
prices within the framework of the Organization of Collective Security
Treaty,” the Russian minister went on to say.

“This system has been in effect for many years and has enabled the
Armenian Defence Ministry to obtain two good military transport
planes,” Ivanov added.

Speaking about Russia’s military cooperation with NATO, Ivanov
specified that Russia participated in joint military exercises with
NATO only if that meets its national interests.

“As far as the participation of the Russian armed forces in joint
exercises with NATO is concerned, we do it only if we can gain some
practical benefit from it,” the Russian defence minister said.

“We have a selective approach to this issue proceeding from our
national, including military interests. If joint exercises with NATO
are of no use to our troops, we openly tell our partners about it,”
Ivanov explained.

Russia holds selective approach to joint exercises with NATO

Russia holds selective approach to joint exercises with NATO
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said on
Thursday after meeting his Armenian opposite number Serge Sarkisyan
that Russia participates in joint military exercises with NATO if
that meets its national interests.

“As far as the participation of the Russian armed forces in joint
exercises with NATO is concerned, we do it only if we can gain some
practical benefit from it,” the Russian defence minister said.

“We have a selective approach to this issue proceeding from our
national, including military interests. If joint exercises with NATO
are of no use to our troops, we openly tell our partners about it,”
Ivanov explained.