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By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian chaired on Friday a joint meeting of Armenia’s and Nagorno-Karabakh’s governments, calling for a greater coordination of their policies and closer contacts between their members.

The Karabakh side was led by President Arkady Ghukasian and Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian. Armenia’s Prime Minister Andranik Markarian also took part in the meeting.

Kocharian was quoted by his office as saying that the two Armenian entities, which have grown politically, militarily and economically integrated over the past decade, are too reliant on close personal contacts between their supreme leaders and should forge more “formalized” relations. He said the government agencies in Yerevan and Stepanakert must work with each other in a “more regulated and single-minded manner,” according to a statement by the presidential press service.

“The president of the republic at the same noted that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are in the same economic field and their ongoing reforms must therefore be congruent,” the statement added. “Otherwise, there would arise a big gap between the two economies.”

It was not clear what specific aspects of economic reform Kocharian, who himself headed the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) from 1992-97, would like to harmonize. No other details were reported.

Kocharian’s office said the two cabinets decided to form a joint working group that will look into ways of making their cooperation “more effective, targeted and program-based.” They also agreed to “step up mutual visits and contacts.”

Ghukasian and his cabinet members held a special meeting in Stepanakert on Tuesday in preparation for their collective visit to Yerevan. The NKR leader was reportedly briefed on their efforts to establish closer ties with relevant government agencies in Armenia.

Armenia has been the main cash cow of the Karabakh government, underwriting more than 75 percent of its budgetary expenditures with annual subsidies officially called “inter-state loans.” The cash allocation for this year is about 11 billion drams ($22 million). Officials said on Friday that it will reach 13.5 billion drams next year.

(Photolur photo: Kocharian and Ghukasian pictured before the meeting.)
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