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Minister Sees 'Considerable' Impact From Investment Forum


Armen Zakarian
The recent investor conference in New York has lived up to the Armenian government's expectations and will allow it to pump the vital financial oxygen into its struggling economy, Minister of Industry and Trade Karen Chshmaritian said on Wednesday.

"It is now hard to tell how much investments the conference will result in, but it is evident that it will have a considerable impact on our economy," Chshmaritian told a news conference. He said a first group of foreign investors who showed interest in business projects unveiled at the New York forum will arrive in Yerevan later this week for further negotiations with their Armenian partners. A second group of Western business executives is due in June, he said. According to Chshmaritian, the investors' main areas of interest are information technology, food processing and mining. Energy Minister Karen Galustian told reporters on Tuesday that several Western firms that took part in the three-day conference now consider investing in the Armenian energy sector.

Organizers of the event, attended by World Bank President James Wolfensohn and President Robert Kocharian, have called it a success, pointing to the higher than expected number of participants. In a keynote speech at the forum, Wolfensohn urged foreign companies to invest in Armenia, praising its leadership for commitment to free-market reforms.

Also, US President George Bush sent a written address to the participants in which he stressed potential benefits of the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
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