Yerevan comes out of the shadow (different)

Agency WPS
October 4, 2004, Monday


SOURCE: Krasnaya Zvezda, October 1, 2004, p. 4

by Roman Streshnev

In his interview last Wednesday Armenia’s Defense Minister Serzhik
Sarkisyan shed light on some aspects of military policy.

Considerable attention was paid to Armenia’s relations with Russia.
In opinion of Sarkisyan, Russia has always been and is Armenia’s
major strategic ally. At the same time Serzhik Sarkisyan stressed
that all rumors saying Armenia is breaking with Russia and wants to
join NATO don’t comply with reality and labeled them as “political
agitation.” “I’ve never, nor do I now want Armenia to join NATO,” he
noted. It would only be possible to say that Yerevan’s priorities
have altered in case Armenia announced its intention to pull out from
the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and enter NATO.
“Thanks to our involvement in the CSTO, many questions which must
remain undisclosed are being discussed and solved positively,” he

Nevertheless, Armenia has been more active at joining various
NATO-led projects. In opinion of Sarkisyan, “activation of
Armenia-NATO relations now is only a wider use of the opportunities
available.” In his words, Armenia’s intention to become a
full-fledged member of the European family is the main goal of
spurring up cooperation with NATO. “We continue deepening our
cooperation with NATO and regard this cooperation as a component of
Armenia’s national security,” Sarkisyan noted.

Serzhik Sarkisyan’s statement that Armenia is obliged to send its
servicemen to Iraq matched the spirit of developing cooperation with
Armenia’s Western partners. “By its minor involvement Armenia must
contribute to the cause of establishing stability in Iraq,” he noted.
The republican parliament must solve this issue. As is planned,
Armenia will send to Iraq more than 30 military drivers, 10 field
engineers, 6 technicians and 3 doctors.

Similar approaches of the Armenian military leaders comply with the
principle of complementariness in foreign policy. Its goal is
extremely simple: enlist the support of Russia, the US and Europe in
all directions significant for Yerevan, the Karabakh problem as well.

The sides involved in the conflict are often announcing their
belligerent statements of late. At the same time Sarkisyan said that
Armenia does not want to resume military actions against Azerbaijan.
In his words, neither is Yerevan interested in ceasing Azerbaijan’s
involvement in NATO-led Partnership for Peace program, which places
some restricting commitments on Baku.