CIS DMs meet in Armenia

CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET IN ARMENIA

RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Council of the Defense Ministers
of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has held a meeting
in Armenia. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov made a series of
statements after the meeting.

He said Russia had set up a body to control portable anti-aircraft
missile complexes.

However, the problem of control over the complexes was not discussed
at today’s meeting, according to Mr Ivanov.

“The presidents of our countries already adopted all decisions on
the matter at their meeting in Yalta, in September 2003. We are
implementing the decisions,” said Mr Ivanov.

Mr Ivanov said Russia had notified its partners of the emergence of the
body, as a number of CIS states had not established such bodies yet.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) does not plan to
enlarge, thus far, according to Mr Ivanov.

“There are no plans on this score,” Mr Ivanov said when asked about
the possibility of enlarging the CSTO (which involves Russia, Belarus,
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan).

“Other countries, not parties to the CSTO, have not approached us
with relevant requests,” added the minister.

The CIS defense ministers are ready to agree on their positions on
nuclear non-proliferation.

“The participants in the meeting of the CIS Council of Defense
Ministers unanimously supported the proposal to agree on our countries’
positions on such a burning issue,” said Mr Ivanov.

Speaking about the CIS single anti-aircraft defense system, Mr
Ivanov that it was a viable and efficient system. “The system has
proved itself to be efficient during a recent military exercise,”
said the minister.

The anti-terrorist contingents of some of the CIS countries,
specifically Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, will
take part in a military exercise in Moldova in late June, according
to the Russian minister. He added that major exercises would be also
conducted in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in early August. Russia will
send its transport and combat aircraft to take part in the exercise.
Russian permanent alert units will also be airlifted to the region,
according to Mr Ivanov.

Mr Ivanov also touched on a sensitive problem of housing for the
military. He believes mortgage schemes for the military would make
army service more attractive.

Mr Ivanov recalled that the Russian government had considered, on
Thursday, accumulation and mortgage housing schemes for the military.

“This will be a major step towards resolving the problem,” he said.

The minister added that housing schemes would cover officers and
warrant officers, as well as the rank and file.

“Serving in the Armed Forces will finally become attractive,” said
the minister.

The mortgage scheme will allow to amend the present situation when
servicemen have to resign from military service to receive free
housing, according to Mr Ivanov.

When speaking about the possibility of Armenia’s joining NATO,
Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan said the issue was not on
the country’s foreign policy agenda.

“When I was asked about whether the Russian military base would
withdraw from Armenia yesterday, I said it was a rhetorical question
and the answer was obviously ‘no.’ As to membership in NATO, the
matter is obviously not on Armenia’s foreign policy agenda either,”
said Mr Sarkisyan.

Mr Ivanov, who is holding the chair at the CIS Council of Defense
Ministers, briefed Armenian President Robert Kocharyan on the decisions
adopted by the ministers after the council meeting.

Mr Ivanov emphasized that the decisions would promote security and
stability throughout the CIS.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS