By Emil Danielyan
The government unexpectedly terminated on Thursday a multimillion-dollar contract with a Russian company to construct a new building for Armenia’s Defense Ministry.
The little-known firm, Ingeocom, has been building the 25-hectare complex in the northern outskirts of Yerevan under an agreement with the Armenian military that was endorsed by the government in January 2005. Ingeocom was to be paid be an undisclosed lump sum and granted ownership of the existing Defense Ministry compound located about a dozen kilometers west of the capital.
Large-scale work on the project began last December with an official ceremony attended by Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. The ministry staff were due to move to the new complex, which will have a military heliport, by the end of 2007.
A written statement by the government offered no explanation for the Armenian authorities’ decision to scrap the contract mid-way through its implementation, citing only a “mutual agreement” reached by Sarkisian’s ministry and Ingeocom. The statement also said the Russians will be given $8.5 million in cash and a plot of land near central Yerevan in compensation for the work already done by them.
The spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Colonel Seyran Shahsuvarian, told RFE/RL that he is unaware of the reasons for Yerevan’s unexpected move. Nor could he say who will continue the construction of the new ministry compound.
(Photolur photo: The new Defense Ministry complex constructed in Yerevan.)