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Oppositionist Condemns Possible Gas Deal With Russia


Armenia -- Aram Manukian (C) chairs an opposition conference in Yerevan, 22Dec2012.

Armenia -- Aram Manukian (C) chairs an opposition conference in Yerevan, 22Dec2012.

A senior representative of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) on Friday strongly condemned the possible sale of more Armenian energy assets to Russia’s Gazprom gas monopoly.

Aram Manukian said the Armenian government’s apparent readiness to cede its remaining 20 percent stake in the ARG domestic gas distribution network amounts to high treason.

“If you give all of your energy assets to one entity it means that you destroy yourself as a sovereign negotiating side,” Manukian said, answering Facebook users’ questions at the RFE/RL studio in Yerevan.

“And what will we get in return for such an undignified stance? This is a treacherous, anti-state deal struck behind the Armenian people’s backs,” he charged.

The government has been discussing such a deal with Gazprom as part of its efforts to lower the recently increased price of Russian natural gas supplied to Armenia. The issue topped the agenda of Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian’s talks with Alexey Miller, the Gazprom chairman, that were held in Moscow earlier this week.

Movsisian said on his return to Yerevan that the government has made no final decision yet. But he told journalists that it is ready in principle to sell the ARG stake if offered “proper compensation.”

Gazprom already owns 80 percent of ARG. It also controls one of Armenia’s largest thermal power plants using Russian gas.
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