Armenian PM expresses wariness about sending military contingent toI

Armenian PM expresses wariness about sending military contingent to Iraq

AP Worldstream
Oct 15, 2004

Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian suggested the former
Soviet republic is reconsidering a promise to send troops to Iraq,
expressing fear that it could put his country in terrorists’ sights.

Armenia is considering sending about 50 military personnel to Iraq,
primarily bomb disposal experts, doctors and transport teams. They
would work under Polish command, and Armenian President Robert
Kocharian pledged the troops during a visit to Poland early last month.

But Markarian stressed that it was up to the Constitutional Court
and the parliament to make the decision on sending the troops.

“Let’s not forget that … there have been certain changes from the
conditions under which we gave preliminary approval” of the plan,
he said.

The government has sought to portray the decision to send troops to
Iraq as a way to boost ties with Europe, but critics worry that it
will endanger the 25,000-person Armenian community living in Iraq.

“We also have concerns on this count. It’s possible that as a result
Armenia could become of the targets of terrorists,” Markarian said.

Of the 12 former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent
States, four _ Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Georgia _ have
sent troops to Iraq.