RUSSIA UNDERTAKES TO REHABILITATE 5 STRATEGIC UNITS OF ARMENIA

The deal “Debt in exchange for investments” is worthwhile both for Moscow and for Yerevan.

The visit to Yerevan of the Russian governmental delegation led by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has finished. Mikhail Kasyanov took with him from Armenia 100 millions of dollars, more precisely – a document confirming that 5 strategic units of Armenia have passed to Russia. Finally, all the issues connected with the deal called “debt in exchange for investments” are solved. Starting from yesterday, Armenia has no debt to Russia.
PanARMENIAN.Net - The debt was the result of nonpayment of the credits provided by Moscow. One and a half year ago Yerevan proposed an untraditional scheme of payment beneficial for both sides. It has suggested repaying the debt through passing the shares of several profitable enterprises of Armenia to Russia. After studying the list proposed by Armenia, the Russian experts chose 5 entities the real price of which vas equal to the sum of the debt. Those are: the Hrazdan thermal power plant, “Mars” enterprise producing robots, and three institutes engaged in elaborations for military-industrial complex – the scientific-research institute of mathematical machines, automatic systems of management and materiolology. All those industrial and scientific enterprises are closely connected with Russia as they were integrated in the single system during the Soviet times.

The agreement on the procedure of passing the enterprises was signed on July 17th. However, not all the procedural issues were covered by the agreement. Yesterday the co-chairmen of Armenian-Russian intergovernmental commission on cooperation, Ilya Klebanov and Serzh Sarkisyan signed a protocol on realization of the agreement. So, question is closed. By the end of the year the exchange of property acts will be accomplished and the Armenian side will only have to see to it that the Russian side implements the assumed liabilities concerning the investments. This deal is beneficial for Yerevan because with the help of the Russians the once powerful enterprises and institutes will be rehabilitated. And that will mean creation of new work places and payment of additional taxes to the state budget.

Mikhail Kasyanov said at the final press-conference that Russia assumed the liability to provide the enterprises with work. Moscow, according to him, intends to use them for implementation of its programs in the sphere of electronic and military industry. According to the Prime Minister, all the technical issues connected with investments and orders will be solved within April 2003. In the beginning of next year it will become clear, who will manage the enterprises. It is known that the RAO EES wants to manage the Hrazdan Thermal power plant, while the “Mars” enterprise may pass to a company headed by the President of the Union of Armenians, Ara Abramyan. Mikhail Kasyanov did not rule out that in the future the industrial and scientific units passed to Russia might be privatized. The Prime Minister of Armenia Andranik Margaryan said that such a perspective did not present any danger for Yerevan.
The issue about the fate of the 5th block of the Hrazdan thermal power plant being under construction will be solved separately. It will be more updated than the already functioning sector of the plant. The government of Russia considers the possibility of purchase of the 5th block. This issue, evidently, will be solved before 2004. Nothing is clear about the ways of the payment; however, it is evident that the Russian government will prefer not to pay cash money. The already tested scheme may be applied also to the block under construction. Both Putin and Kasyanov seem to be satisfied with the way of solving problems of the state debt proposed by Armenia. The prime Minister of Russia said in Yerevan that such a form of debts payment might be used in the future by Russia with other countries as well.

Other two documents were also signed in Yerevan. Those are the intergovernmental agreement on mutual protection of secret information and the agreement between the ministries of ecology on cooperation in the sphere of usage of the bowels and water resources. During the visit Mikhail Kasyanov met also with the Parliament authorities of Armenia, students and professors of the Slavonic University visited the Memorial to the victims of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire of Turkey. The Premier negotiated with the President Robert Kocharian, who is going to visit Moscow in December on the invitation of Vladimir Putin. This visit, probably, will be also focused on economic issues.
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