Russia, Armenia deepen strategic partnership

Russia, Armenia deepen strategic partnership

May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 20 (Itar-Tass) – Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov
said after talks with his Armenian counterpart Serge Sarkisyan on
Thursday that the Russian and Armenian defence chiefs had made another
vital practical step towards deepening the Russian-Armenian strategic
partnership, promoting bilateral security and maintaining peace and
stability in the trans-Caucasian region.

“We discussed a wide range of issues that concerned the implementation
of the earlier reached agreements on military and technological
cooperation, the provision of the vitality of the Russian military
base in the territory of the Republic of Armenia and interaction in
military construction,” Sergei Ivanov explained.

“We also exchanged views on developing military and political situation
in the trans-Caucasian region and clarified positions in counteracting
international terrorism,” the Russian defence minister added.

Ivanov believes that the decisions, which were passed during the
talks, came as a natural result of the sides’ reciprocal interest
in developing all-round military contacts. “They are the logical
continuation of intensive work which the Russian and Armenian
presidents do for the sake of promoting inter-state relations,”
Ivanov emphasized.

Speaking about Russia’s military cooperation with NATO, Ivanov
specified that Russia participated in joint military exercises with
NATO only if that meets its national interests.

“As far as the participation of the Russian armed forces in joint
exercises with NATO is concerned, we do it only if we can gain some
practical benefit from it,” the Russian defence minister said.

“We have a selective approach to this issue proceeding from our
national, including military interests. If joint exercises with NATO
are of no use to our troops, we openly tell our partners about it,”
Ivanov explained.

Sergei Ivanov ruled out any possibility of joint use of Russia’s
radar station in Gabalin, northern Azerbaijan, together with the
United States.

Asked to comment on some media reports that the Russian military
facility in Azerbaijan could allegedly be operated jointly with the
United States under a long-term agreement, Ivanov replied that he
could hardly imagine how an installation working in the interests of
the Russian Space Troops could be used jointly with the United States.

“It’s hard to imagine even if someone’s imagination is very great,»
he noted.