YEREVAN (Combined Sources)-Outgoing Armenian President Robert Kocharian, who on Wednesday will be stepping down as Armenia’s second president, met Monday with top army brass, senior Foreign Ministry diplomats, and high ranking officials from the Police Department, Ministry of Justice and the National Security Service.
The outgoing president told the agency heads that Armenia has a bright future and the president-elect, Serzh Sarkisian, will enter office with the opportunity to further the development of the state.
Thanking the agency heads for their "productive" and "exceptional" contributions to the formation of the state, Kocharian assessed the progress of the government agencies in the development of state structures during his two terms in office. The past ten years have seen the development of the country’s domestic and foreign agencies, Kocharian said. Without this development, there could be no Armenian state, he added.
"You are the heads of agencies that are responsible for the country’s and people’s security, for law and order, and for Armenia’s international reputation," he said. "We can say for certain that in this regard your agencies have, by and large, met their responsibilities, although there is always room for improvement."
Kocharian, however, noted that he wished that there was a greater impetus for the agency heads and officials to work more productively toward greater progress in strengthening the country’s and its citizens’ security.
During a press conference later in the day, Kocharian told reporters that he believed Armenia’s economy is slated for continued growth and sustainable development despite a growing global recession.
"Economic indices for 2007 show that the country is in a state of sustainable development," said Kocharian, who has overseen almost a decade of double-digit growth in Armenia.
He said that there was a decline in 2008 trade figures for March, but explained that this was "natural" and a result of the internal political situation connected to the presidential elections.
"But it is obvious that all this is being overcome," he said.
Despite a global recession, Armenia has the opportunity to end the year with serious economic growth, he told reporters.
"[The recession] may have a negative impact on Armenia’s economic development rates but I am sure that even under these conditions we can conduct a policy that will allow Armenia to bypass the negative impact of the global economic recession," he said.
Kocharian, however, did not specify what type of policies Armenia would need to implement to circumvent the global recession and realize his positive forecast. According to him, Armenia will not be greatly affected by its current internal political situation or a global economic crisis because it does not have a developed capital and securities market. According to the outgoing president, such developmen’s have more profound effects on countries with developed financial sectors. Armenia in this regard is underdeveloped, he explained.
Armenia’s major economic market is in real estate and construction, Kocharian said, adding that its securities and capital markets are almost non-existent. But Kocharian said he does not see any major problems with the current level of Armenia’s economic development.