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Kazakhstan, Armenia sign agreements to develop relations

ASTANA, November 6 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan and Armenia have concluded a number of agreements to develop bilateral relations during Armenian President Robert Kocharyan's visit to Astana.

The two countries signed an intergovernmental agreement on citizens' trips, a convention on avoiding double taxation, an agreement on investment protection and a cultural cooperation agreement.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said bilateral trade turnover does not meet the two states' demands.

According to Kazakhstan's statistics agency, bilateral trade turnover in the first eight months of 2006 was $16.4 million, compared to $45.2 million in the entire 2005.

"The trade level cannot satisfy either side, this low indicator does not meet our states' demands," Nazarbayev told a press conference Monday.

He partly attributed the situation to an insufficient contractual base. "Documents signed today create a legal base for closer cooperation between our companies," he said.

Nazarbayev called investment protection agreements very important.

"As a result of talks, we confirmed the urge of our states to further strengthen our relations. Increasing trade and economic ties will contribute to this, for Kazakhstan's business and capital not to be afraid to go to Armenia," he said.

Robert Kocharyan, in turn, said Armenia hoped for an inflow of investment from Kazakhstan.

"We want this visit to prompt the arrival of Kazakh investment in Armenia," Kocharyan said.

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