Armenia does not plan to join NATO, president says

Armenia does not plan to join NATO, president says

AP Worldstream; Apr 22, 2006

Armenia does not plan to join NATO, the former Soviet republic’s
president said in comments published Saturday, adding that close
military ties with Russia and other regional countries provide
sufficient security.

Armenia is broadening its cooperation with NATO under an alliance
partnership program, the newspaper Voice of Armenia quoted President
Robert Kocharian as saying. “However, Armenia does not intend to join
NATO,” he said.

“Participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the
high level of military-technical cooperation with Russia resolve the
question of the provision of security for our country to a sufficient
degree,” Kocharian added, according to the newspaper.

The Collective Security Treaty links Armenia with Russia, Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Kocharian was responding to a question about statements attributed to
the Caucasus Mountain nation’s parliament speaker, Artur Bagdasarian,
who reportedly told a German newspaper that Armenia’s future lies
with the European Union and NATO and that Russia should not block
its Westward path.

Armenia is Russia’s chief ally in the poor, strategic located
Caucasus Mountain region and hosts a Russian military base.
Neighboring Georgia, which is seeking to shed Moscow’s influence
and turn Westward, reached an agreement last year obliging Russia to
withdraw its two military bases from the country by the end of 2008.