SOFIA (Armenpress)–Presidents Georgi Purvanov of Bulgaria and Robert Kocharian of Armenia met on Monday to discuss bilateral issues and agreemen’s expected to be signed by the two nations.
President Kocharian arrived on September 7 for a two-day visit to Bulgaria–accompanied by his wife–Bella.
The Armenian delegation accompanying the president is composed of Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian–Health Minister Norair Tavitian and Culture and Youth Minister Tamara Poghosian–and a group of Armenian business representatives who will partake in meetings.
This is only the second visit to Bulgaria by an Armenian president since 1995. Former Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov paid a visit to Armenia in December 1999. Bulgaria recognized Armenia’s independence in December 1991; the two countries established diplomatic relations in January 1992.
Armenia and Bulgaria are expected to sign a joint presidential declaration to cooperate in consular affairs and health and an agreement to implement three-year culture–education and science programs.
The two nations already have bilateral agreemen’s currently in force–a Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation (Apr. 1995) and agreemen’s on trade and economic cooperation (Apr. 1994)–investment protection and promotion (Jan. 1995)–cooperation in tourism (Dec. 1999)–avoidance of double taxation (Apr. 1994)–international multi-modal carriage of freight (Dec. 1999) and cooperation in customs matters (Dec. 1999).
In 1998–the two countries signed a multilateral agreement to develop the transport corridor between Europe and Asia through the Caucasus. According to the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry–there are eight Armenian commercial representations in Bulgaria–as well as 103 companies with Armenian participation–80 of which are Armenian-owned.
Last year–the trade volume between the nations increased by 16.6%–with copper ores and concentrates–plastic packaging–steel products–coal and cotton fabrics–dominating Armenia’s exports to Bulgaria.
In the same period–Armenia imported from Bulgaria bottles–polymers–hair care products–raw tobacco–fruit juices–paper–and cardboard.
Presidents Purvanov and Kocharian will participate in the closing of a Bulgarian-Armenian business forum and will attend a gala concert marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aram Khachaturian.
President Kocharian is scheduled to visit the second biggest city in Bulgaria–Plovdiv–for a meeting with the mayor and the local Armenian community. The Armenian president is also scheduled to meet with Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and National Assembly Chairman Ognyan Gerdjikov.