Russia To Keep Military Base In Armenia, Defence Ministers Confirm


RIA news agency, Moscow
20 May 04

Yerevan, 20 May: Russia has no plans to increase the number of
servicemen at its 102nd military base in Armenia, Russian Defence
Minister Sergey Ivanov told journalists today.

“We have no plans to increase the number of Russians stationed at the
102nd Russian base. This is the best number. It is not quantity but
quality and provision of weapons and equipment that is important,”
the minister said.

“We are striving to ensure that the 102nd base is well equipped
militarily and that it carries out combat training on schedule. We
attribute priority importance to this,” Ivanov underlined.

Armenian Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, for his part, declared
that the Russian base would not be withdrawn from Armenia. Asked
about the possibility of a withdrawal of the Russian military base
from Armenian territory, Sarkisyan told journalists that he regarded
this as a purely rhetorical question.

“This is a question to which we already know the answer – no,”
Sarkisyan said. “We have repeatedly said that we regard military
relations with Russia as an integral part of our national security. I
can therefore give you a precise and clear answer – there will be no
withdrawal of the Russian base from Armenia.”