By Hrach Melkumian
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov arrived in Armenia on Friday on yet another working visit which he said will result in the long-awaited signing of the assets-for-debt agreement between the two countries. He said that under the terms of the planned deal Moscow will gain control of over a dozen Armenian enterprises in exchange for writing off Yerevan’s $94 million debt.
“We are planning to sign an agreement that will settle all of the debt issues,” Klebanov told reporters at Yerevan airport.
He did not publicize the full list of the Armenian enterprises, saying only that it will include “several” energy companies and four big factories that used to be a part of the Soviet military-industrial complex.
Klebanov, who co-chairs the Russian-Armenian commission on economic cooperation, was accompanied by a large delegation of senior government officials representing various Russian ministries. He was met at the airport by the commission’s Armenian co-chairman, Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, and was scheduled to hold talks with President Robert Kocharian later in the day.
It is expected that details of the debt deal will be presented to journalists on Saturday. Klebanov said its main points have already been finalized. He denied that the two governments had serious differences during months of negotiation.