Opening Armenian-Turkish Border Won’t Result in Russian Withdrawal

OPENING ARMENIAN-TURKISH BORDER WILL NOT RESULT IN WITHDRAWAL OF
RUSSIAN TROOPS FROM ARMENIA, ARTHUR AGHABEKIAN SAYS

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 15, NOYAN TAPAN. Opening the Armenian-Turkish border
will not result in withdrawal of the Russian military base from
Armenia, the former deputy minister of defence, chairman of the
National Assembly Standing Committee of Defence, National Security and
Internal Affairs Arthur Aghabekian stated at the October 14 meeting
with reporters. He said that the presence of Russian military in
Armenia is conditioned by the existence of an agreement between the two
countries, under which Russian border-guards protect not only
Armenian-Turkish border but also Armenian-Iranian one. He neither
denied nor confirmed the rumours about the creation of a second Russian
strong point and the possible stationing of Russian peace-keepers in
Nagorno Karabakh.

"We will not give a single inch to the enemy," he declared when
expressing his attitude to the possibility of returning the liberated
territories. He attached importance to the buffer zone formed around
Nagorno Karabakh in terms of both military and economic security. In
his words, no person in power can make a personal decision on return of
the territories.

According to Vahan Shirkhanian, also a former deputy minister of
defence, the authorities are one thing in Armenia, the people is quite
another, there is no link between them just as any mutual trust and
understanding is absent. Under such conditions he did not exclude the
possibility that the authorities will take a decision to return the
territories. As for Russian military bases, V. Shirkhanian said it will
be a good thing if even one military base is kept in Armenia.

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