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Levon Ter-Petrosyan: Armenia Cannot Become Economically Powerful without the resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict

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.

JTW, APA, other news agencies

22 August 2006

Jan Soykok, JTW

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