Armenian finance and economics minister Vardan Khachatryan expressed no-confidence in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He said this in a live broadcast of the Armenian public television. According to Khachatryan, the IMF violated its commitments and did not give financial means to Armenia as it was planned earlier. "At the same time Armenia has fully implemented its obligations before the IMF, but I want to stress that cooperation cannot be unilateral," the minister pointed out. This means, RIA Novosti reports, that the Armenian minister accused the IMF of "deceiving" Armenia and not giving the country the due 25 billion drams (more than 40 million US dollars). But despite this, Armenia overcame this situation and ends the year with debts amounting to only 10-11 billion drams, Khachatryan underlined. Earlier the minister stated that in 2002 Armenia, for the first time in recent years, will be able to cover the state budget deficit from the internal sources. All these years, since the time Armenia has become independent, the state budget deficit was covered through external financing, mainly due to the World Bank's credits. But the policies of the IMF and the WB are closely linked, and the IMF opinion on giving credits to Armenia often becomes crucial.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea