By Shake Avoyan
A five-member delegation of Armenian businessmen from Brazil visiting Armenia on behalf of the president of Brazil, announced today that their country will soon open an embassy in Yerevan. The delegation met with Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Gagik Aslanian on Monday and discussed possibilities of expanding commercial and economic direct ties between the two countries.
A member of the delegation told RFE/RL that many Brazilian commodities and products such as coffee, meat and manufactured goods reach Armenia through other countries and the opening of the embassy would facilitate direct contacts. However, due to financial reasons Armenia would refrain from opening an Embassy in Brazil.
The delegation, which is on a fact-finding mission is meeting with many government officials and visiting factories in an attempt to prepare concrete plans of economic cooperation and investments. Tomorrow, they will meet with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and on Wednesday with President Robert Kocharian. The delegation would deliver a letter of invitation to Mr. Kocharian from the president of Brazil. It is not yet clear when Kocharian will travel to Brazil. About 25,000-30,000 Armenians live in Brazil.
In a related development, a delegation of Germany’ Bundestag representing the Internal Affairs Committee of the legislature is also visiting Armenia and met with Mr. Aslanian. Recently, German delegations visit the region more often and show a keen interest in regional issues, according to the Deputy Speaker of the Armenian parliament. The delegation which first visited Georgia will travel on to Azerbaijan. During their meeting in the Armenian parliament they showed a lot of interest in potential economic cooperation among the region’s countries.
The Nagorno-Karabakh issue was also discussed during the meeting, and it became apparent that the German parliamentarians saw religious differences as a cause of the conflict. Mr. Aslanian explained the Armenian position that religion has no role in this conflict. Armenian deputies also told the German side that Turkey shows a clear bias on this issue by continuing its “blockade” of Armenia. The German delegation promised to take this up with Turkey and ask Ankara to reconsider its policy regarding the blockade.