YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Swedish Ambassador to Armenia Sven Girden held political consultations with Armenia’s leaders in Yerevan. At his news conference June 9–the Swedish ambassador assessed his meeting with President Robert Kocharian as fruitful. The ambassador stressed that Sweden–which will chair the European Union in the first half of 2001–will pay great attention to the South Caucasus.
Sweden–which was OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman in 1993-1995 and is currently its permanent member–attaches importance to the Karabakh settlement. Yet–the Swedish ambassador stressed–the region’s economic development must not be "a hostage" to the conflict settlement. According to him–the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen’s proposal based on the idea of "common state" is useful and much work should be carried out in this direction.
Pointing out that Sweden is ready to vote for Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe as well as to contribute to Armenia’s admission to the World Trade Organization–the ambassador expressed confidence that Armenia’s WTO membership and the signing of an agreement on protection of investmen’s will promote the Armenian-Swedish cooperation. The current level of the bilateral cooperation is not satisfactory–the trade turnover between the two countries having made up no more than $1,000,000 last year.
During the meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian and Ambassador Sven Girdman the sides stressed the need for developing legislation for bilateral cooperation. Draft agreemen’s on air transport–protection of investmen’s–abolition of double taxation as well as the possiblity of the Armenian foreign minister’s visit to the countries of Eastern Europe – Sweden–Norway–Denmark and Finland – are currently under discussion.