YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Prime Minister Robert Kocharian visited Armenia’s Siunik region–on Friday–to meet with community leaders–government sources said.
In the town of Sisian–Kocharian met with the mayor and other community leaders. The talks were mainly concentrated on problems faced by the town’s small population. The leaders discussed irrigation problems–the importance of setting up branches of the Farmers Bank for Mutual Assistance–and improving the agricultural production process.
Kocharian held a meeting with a representative from the German Society for Technical Cooperation who plans to set up a social assistance fund and support small and medium-sized companies.
In Goris–Kocharian saw the construction of the Sisian-Goris water pipeline and promised to allocate additional funds to help complete the protracted construction.
During a meeting with the people of Goris–Kocharian said that the government had been taking steps to reform the tax policies and direct it towards investment opportunities.
Kocharian said that the government plans to expedite the privatization of industrial companies which will launch the development of large industrial enterprises by attracting investors to Armenia.
"Armenia has no future without a developed industry," Kocharian said. He hoped that the country would enter 1998 with some serious investment projects–the implementation of which would create new jobs and help solve a number of budget problems.
Saturday–Kocharian visited a customs clearance point in Meghri where he spoke with Russian border troops.
In Kapan–Siunik’s regional center–he visited the pantheon to Armenian soldiers and freedom fighters where he placed wreaths on the graves of soldiers.
Kocharian also attended a meeting between the government delegation and the regional administration at the Mayor’s Office in Siunik. During the meeting–the local government said that their administration was not able to solve a number of problems because of the lack of clarity in administration-community relations. Admitting that there were a lot of flaws in the local self-government legislation–Kocharian promised that the government would address that matter soon.
Kocharian noted that Armenia’s economic situation was in bad shape–however he added that "every problem could be solved."
"We have enough will to solve all the problems we are facing. We simply need our goal to be clear to the people and the succession of steps we are taking to be understandable," Kocharian said.