YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov visited the Dzidzernagapert Genocide Memorial in Armenia Wednesday where he laid a wreath of flowers at memorial and planted a tree in the "Friendship" alley.
Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan provided Zubkov with a tour around the memorial.
The Russian premier was accompanied by the Mayor of Yerevan Yervand Zakharyan, Deputy Foreign Minister Gegham Gharibjanyan, Armenian Ambassador to Russia Armen Smbatyan and others.
In 1995 the Russian State Duma passed a resolution to condemn the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
President Robert Kocharian received the Russian delegation headed by Zubkov Wednesday. The meeting was attended also by Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and other officials.
Appreciating the upward development of Armenian-Russian relations, Kocharian said they have a brilliant perspective. According to Kocharian, the economic ties between the two countries have become the locomotive of bilateral cooperation, resulting in enormous Russian investmen’s in Armenia’s energy, transport, and communication sectors.
President Kocharian also underscored the dynamic development of collaboration in Armenia’s infrastructures.
The parties noted that the annual commodity turnover between the two countries is approaching $1 billion and praised the productive work of the Armenian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation.
The interlocutors also emphasized the importance of bilateral relations in humanitarian, cultural and educational spheres.
During the Russian premiers visit Wednesday, Armenia’signed an agreement to join an international uranium enrichment center in Siberia.
The center, part of Moscow’s non-proliferation initiative to create a network of enrichment centers under the UN nuclear watchdog’s supervision, will be based at a chemical plant in Angarsk, Siberia and will also be responsible for the disposal of nuclear waste.
"This is an important document that will create conditions for Armenia to join the nuclear non-proliferation regime," Russian nuclear chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, told reporters after talks between Russia and Armenia’s prime ministers Viktor Zubkov and Serzh Sarkisian.
Uranium enrichment is planned to begin in Angarsk in 2013. Kazakhstan joined the initiative in 2006, when the Central Asian state, which holds 15% of the world’s uranium reserves, signed an agreement with Russia to set up their first enrichment joint venture. Ukraine said earlier that it could also join the project.
Kiriyenko also said the two countries would establish a joint venture to prospect and produce uranium in Armenia, whose uranium deposits are estimated at up to 60,000 metric tons.
"Armenia and Russia will each hold 50% in the joint venture," he said, adding that Russia would invest $3 million in additional prospecting in the ex-Soviet state.
Kiriyenko said Russia would bid in a tender for the construction of a 1,000-Megawatt power unit on the site of the 1976 nuclear power plant, which he said could start in 2010-2011. He stated that Russia had a good chance of winning the tender, estimated as being worth $1 billion.
Armenia has been under pressure from the EU to close its sole nuclear power plant, which generates 40-50% of its electricity, due to possible environmental threats.
In September 2003, the plant came under the five-year trust management of INTER RAO UES, a subsidiary of Russia’s state NPP operator Rosenergoatom and UES electricity monopoly.
Kiriyenko was formally dismissed on Monday as head of the Federal Nuclear Power Agency to focus on his other job as chief of the Rosatom state corporation, set to take on the agency’s functions and step up the construction of nuclear power plants at home and abroad.
In other news, Armenia will be the first country to receive new Sukhoi SuperJet-100 airplanes from Russia, the Russian Transport Minister said Wednesday while in Yerevan.
The SuperJet 100 project is a family of medium-range passenger aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau in cooperation with major American and European aviation corporations, including Boeing, Snecma, Thales, Messier Dowty, Liebherr Aerospace, and Honeywell.
"The first aircraft will be supplied to [Russia’s flagship carrier] Aeroflot, and the first delivery abroad will be made to Armenia," Igor Levitin said.
A $50 million contract for the delivery of two airplanes to Armenia’s Armavia airline in 2008 was signed last September. Sukhoi head Mikhail Poghosian said his company anticipates growing demand for SSJ-100s once they enter the market.
The aircraft maker said last month it is planning to sell 150 new Sukhoi SuperJet-100 aircraft, saying so far it had 73 contracts.
It plans to manufacture at least 700 SuperJet 100s, and intends to sell 35% of them to North America, 25% to Europe, 10% to Latin America, and 7% to Russia and China.
The list price of a 95-seat base model is $28 million, but the company is currently working on both smaller and larger capacity modifications.
The SuperJet 100 has an estimated $100 billion market for around 5,500 planes, through 2023.