By Armen Zakarian
Armenian President Robert Kocharian and his visiting Polish counterpart, Aleksander Kwasniewski, pledged to give a strong boost to economic cooperation between their countries following talks in Yerevan on Wednesday. They said the Polish-Armenian “political dialogue” should be complemented with closer commercial ties.
Kwasniewski arrived in Yerevan earlier in the day on a three-day official visit dominated by economic issues.
“We have plenty of time here to agree on how to develop our economic relations and possible Polish investments in Armenia,” he said at a joint news conference with Kocharian. “I am an optimist and am confident that we can agree on many interesting projects during this visit.”
“We see common interests between Armenia and Poland and have agreed to create a solid foundation for effective cooperation between our states,” Kocharian said for his part.
The two leaders, speaking to reporters in fluent Russian, said that they are unhappy with the present modest level of bilateral trade. They will open a Polish-Armenian business forum in Yerevan on Thursday. A group of Polish businessmen is part of an delegation accompanying Kwasniewski on the trip.
According to Kocharian, Armenia is interested in studying Poland’s experience with the integration into European structures and successful economic reforms. He said Warsaw and Yerevan respect each other’s “choice of security priorities.” Poland views membership of NATO as the cornerstone of its national security, while Armenia relies on a military alliance with Russia.
Moscow had strongly objected to Poland’s accession to the Alliance three years ago.
Kwasniewski arrived in Armenia from neighboring Georgia where he voiced support for his beleaguered counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze and Tbilisi’s efforts to forge closer ties with the West.