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Minister Asks Armenian Parliament to Ratify Armenia-Russia Gas Deal

The contract signed between the governments of Armenia and Russia on the conditions of the sale of ArmRosGazprom shares and future activities was discussed in Armenia's National Assembly today. Fourteen MPs directed questions to RA Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsissyan. The minister, presenting the contract, asked that it be ratified, since "it will strengthen the two countries' economic relations." Recall, under this agreement, the Armenian government will hand over its 20% share in ArmRosGazprom to the Russian party.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-D or Dashnaktsutyun) MP Aghvan Vardanyan asked if after ratifying this contract whether Armenia will be able to negotiate with Iran or other countries on importing gas at lower prices.

The minister said that the contract places no such restrictions before Armenia's government. 

Prosperous Armenia MP Vartan Oskanian said that he feels cheated: "You have repeatedly stood on this platform and repeatedly said that the price of gas has not increased. It's obvious that the Republic of Armenia has accumulated a debt of $300 million. You didn't come and didn't present the problem. Moreover, you've been asked whether the price of gas went up and you denied it. Now you've come and you want to make us participants in a transaction which you concealed from us. When did the price go up? Why did you hide it from the people?"

Armen Movsissyan insisted that he didn't deceive anyone but said that a negotiating process was underway. "That debt accumulated since 2011. How much the debt would be became clear only after the negotiations. One part [of the debt] they're forgiving; the other part we have to cover," he said.

Another Prosperous Armenia MP, Naira Zohrabyan (pictured, left), called the agreement "vassal-like".

"I would ask that you read it carefully; there are no 'vassal-like relations' in this agreement," replied Movsissyan. 

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