NATO official: Ties w/ROA not intended to compete with Arm/Rus relns

Associated Press Worldstream
February 24, 2005 Thursday 3:12 PM Eastern Time

NATO official: ties with Armenia not intended to compete with
Armenian-Russian relations

YEREVAN, Armenia

A top NATO envoy said Thursday that Armenia’s relations with NATO
should not be seen as competing with the Caucasus nation’s ties with
Russia.

Robert Simons, NATO special envoy for the South Caucasus and Central
Asia, praised Armenia for supporting NATO’s international efforts,
especially in the fight against terrorism, and he thanked Yerevan for
sending peacekeeping and other troops to Kosovo and Iraq.

“Cooperation between NATO and Armenia or with some other nation
should not be examined in the context of competition with Russia,”
Simons said. “NATO supports close ties with Russia, building
relations, particularly, in the framework of the Russia-NATO
council.”

Asked about the likelihood of Armenia’s becoming a member of the
defense alliance, Simons said “NATO’s door is open to any country.”

Russia has watched warily as former Soviet countries like Ukraine and
Georgia have sought deepen ties with Western organizations like the
European Union and NATO and move out from under Russia’s shadow.

Armenia has 49 bomb-disposal experts, drivers, medics and officers
serving in Iraq as part of the U.S.-led military effort there.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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