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Armenian, Kazakh Presidents Discuss Trade

(RFE/RL) November 6, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The leaders of Kazakhstan and Armenia today discussed bilateral ties in Astana, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

In a statement posted on his website, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said the volume of bilateral exchanges between the two former Soviet republics was well below what they should be.

Nazarbaev said trade volume between Kazakhstan and Armenia for the first eight months of this year stood at only $16.4 million. During that period, Kazakhstan imported just $2.5 million worth of Armenian goods.

Addressing reporters at a joint press briefing, Kocharian acknowledged that bilateral economic ties leave much to be desired.

"[However], I would like to draw your attention to a positive element," he said. "Kazakhstan's businesspeople have recently started looking toward Armenia. We welcome the fact that you're now present -- and quite significantly -- in Georgia and the South Caucasus region. We hope your plans with regard to Armenia will help boost your presence in that country to much higher levels than at present."

The two presidents today signed a series of documents that aim at boosting bilateral relations.

Among them are an agreement on double taxation and one on investment protection.

(with material from and Novosti-Armenia)

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