Following a meeting, Russia’s atomic energy minister, Yevgeny Adamov, Armenia’s prime minister Andranik Markarian and energy minister Karen Galustian said they saw no reason to close the Metsamor plant before the end of 2004. The Armenian government is now reconsidering an earlier undertaking to shut the plant down in return for financial assistance from the EU and other donors for safety upgrades.

Galustian said Metsamor could continue operating until at least 2013. He said it accounts for 42% of total power supplies, and there are no funds to replace the capacity. In addition, Armenia owes Russia $16 million for fuel deliveries.