Armenia ready to participate in humanitarian operations in Iraq

Armenia says it is ready to participate in humanitarian operations in Iraq

AP Online
Jun 29, 2004

Armenia is prepared to actively participate in humanitarian operations
in Iraq, Deputy Foreign Minister Ruben Shugarian said Tuesday.

He said such an offer was in the national interests of this ex-Soviet
republic and also took into account the large Armenian Diaspora living
in Iraq. Some groups have estimated the number as high as 30,000.

Discussions are focusing on sending military medics, drivers and
sappers to Iraq, Shugarian said. He said the talks are currently
focusing on technical details.

Armenia has pursued close ties with the United States, home to a large
Armenian Diaspora, and had earlier expressed a willingness to help in

Shugarian also noted that he was pleased that the United States was
determined to maintain parity in its military aid to Armenia and
Azerbaijan next year. Relations between the neighboring ex-Soviet
countries remain tense after Armenian-backed forces drove Azerbaijan’s
army out of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in the
early 1990s.

A cease-fire was signed in 1994, ending the war that killed 30,000
people and left about one million homeless, but no agreement has been
reached on the territory’s final status.