Kocharian on role of council of CIS DMs

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT ON ROLE OF COUNCIL OF CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS

RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 21 (RIA Novosti’s Gamlet Matevosyan) – The Council of
CIS Defense Ministers is one of the most important and effective
structures in the Commonwealth, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan
told participants in the council’s session in Yerevan.

The President pointed out the importance of cooperation within the
framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Collective
Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan), Robert Kocharyan’s press service told
RIA Novosti. He believes that such meetings boost bilateral relations.

On his part, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, the council’s
chairman, expressed satisfaction with the session.

According to him, a wide range of issues, mainly military-political
and military-technical cooperation, was considered in Yerevan.

The participants discussed reforms in the CIS armed forces and
technical re-equipment of the armies.

In conclusion, the Armenian President wished them success and service
“in efficient and disciplined armies”.

CIS DMs meet in Armenia

CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET IN ARMENIA

RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Council of the Defense Ministers
of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has held a meeting
in Armenia. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov made a series of
statements after the meeting.

He said Russia had set up a body to control portable anti-aircraft
missile complexes.

However, the problem of control over the complexes was not discussed
at today’s meeting, according to Mr Ivanov.

“The presidents of our countries already adopted all decisions on
the matter at their meeting in Yalta, in September 2003. We are
implementing the decisions,” said Mr Ivanov.

Mr Ivanov said Russia had notified its partners of the emergence of the
body, as a number of CIS states had not established such bodies yet.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) does not plan to
enlarge, thus far, according to Mr Ivanov.

“There are no plans on this score,” Mr Ivanov said when asked about
the possibility of enlarging the CSTO (which involves Russia, Belarus,
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan).

“Other countries, not parties to the CSTO, have not approached us
with relevant requests,” added the minister.

The CIS defense ministers are ready to agree on their positions on
nuclear non-proliferation.

“The participants in the meeting of the CIS Council of Defense
Ministers unanimously supported the proposal to agree on our countries’
positions on such a burning issue,” said Mr Ivanov.

Speaking about the CIS single anti-aircraft defense system, Mr
Ivanov that it was a viable and efficient system. “The system has
proved itself to be efficient during a recent military exercise,”
said the minister.

The anti-terrorist contingents of some of the CIS countries,
specifically Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, will
take part in a military exercise in Moldova in late June, according
to the Russian minister. He added that major exercises would be also
conducted in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in early August. Russia will
send its transport and combat aircraft to take part in the exercise.
Russian permanent alert units will also be airlifted to the region,
according to Mr Ivanov.

Mr Ivanov also touched on a sensitive problem of housing for the
military. He believes mortgage schemes for the military would make
army service more attractive.

Mr Ivanov recalled that the Russian government had considered, on
Thursday, accumulation and mortgage housing schemes for the military.

“This will be a major step towards resolving the problem,” he said.

The minister added that housing schemes would cover officers and
warrant officers, as well as the rank and file.

“Serving in the Armed Forces will finally become attractive,” said
the minister.

The mortgage scheme will allow to amend the present situation when
servicemen have to resign from military service to receive free
housing, according to Mr Ivanov.

When speaking about the possibility of Armenia’s joining NATO,
Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan said the issue was not on
the country’s foreign policy agenda.

“When I was asked about whether the Russian military base would
withdraw from Armenia yesterday, I said it was a rhetorical question
and the answer was obviously ‘no.’ As to membership in NATO, the
matter is obviously not on Armenia’s foreign policy agenda either,”
said Mr Sarkisyan.

Mr Ivanov, who is holding the chair at the CIS Council of Defense
Ministers, briefed Armenian President Robert Kocharyan on the decisions
adopted by the ministers after the council meeting.

Mr Ivanov emphasized that the decisions would promote security and
stability throughout the CIS.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Kocharian: Iran-Armenia gas pipeline will benefit Russia

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT: IRAN-ARMENIA GAS PIPELINE WILL BENEFIT RUSSIA

RIA Novosti, Russia
May 21 2004

YEREVAN, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russian companies, which are seriously
represented in the Armenian energy system, will get dividends from
the construction of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, President Robert
Kocharyan of Armenia said in an interview with the Public Television
of the republic.

In his words, one of the issues on the agenda of his May 13-15 talks
in Moscow was the construction of the above-mentioned pipeline. “It
is a highly interesting project that will benefit everyone, with
the exception of those who do not wish well to Armenia,” said the
president.

Iran will provide gas in return for Armenian electricity, said Robert
Kocharyan. “Since Russian companies are seriously represented in
Armenia’s energy system – Gazprom and Itera own 55% of ArmRosgazprom
and RAO UES owns about 40% of Armenian generating capacities, they
will benefit, too. This means that they will get major dividends from
the deal,” said the head of state.

On the other hand, he stressed that this will not lead to a reduction
in Russian gas deliveries. Armenia will use Russian gas for domestic
consumption because Russian gas is cheaper. “Russia in the person of
its companies will benefit because the safety of the Armenian energy
system will increase tenfold: we will be able to ensure reliable
gas provision even in case of an accident at one of the pipelines,”
said Kocharyan.

Moscow has a negative attitude toward actions designed to weaken the
standing of Armenia, he believes. “The President of Russia is informed
sufficiently well about the internal political events in Armenia and
is concerned over them. He has expressed his unambiguous support for
me and the authorities of Armenia,” said the Armenian president.

According to him, Russia believes that Armenia, under weak authorities,
may succumb to outside influences. “This does not meet the interests
of our bilateral relations, since Armenia is a strategic partner
of Russia in the South Caucasus,” the president said. Consequently,
any actions that may create such problems are viewed “as a threat to
the development of bilateral relations.”

Robert Kocharyan said he had invited President Putin to visit
Yerevan. “The invitation was accepted and we are discussing the date
now,” he said.

The president of Armenia was the first head of state to visit Russia
after the May 7 inauguration of President Vladimir Putin, which, he
thinks, “points to the depth and warmth in Russo-Armenian relations.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Joint Russia-US operation of Gabalin radar station is impossible

Joint Russia-US operation of Gabalin radar station is impossible
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said after
his talks with Armenian opposite number Serge Sarkisyan on Thursday
that Russia considered it impossible to operate its radar station in
Gabalin, northern Azerbaijan, jointly with the United States.

Asked to comment on some media reports that the Russian military
facility in Azerbaijan could allegedly be operated jointly with the
United States under a long-term agreement, Ivanov replied that he
could hardly imagine how an installation working in the interests of
the Russian Space Troops could be used jointly with the United States.

“It’s hard to imagine even if someone’s imagination is very great,”
he noted.

Armenia purchases two Il-76 planes at preferential price

Armenia purchases two Il-76 planes at preferential price
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Armenia has bought two Russian Il-76 military
transport aircraft at Russia’s internal prices, Russian Defence
Minister Sergei Ivanov said after talks with his Armenian opposite
number Serge Sarkisyan.

“Two Il-76 military transport planes landed in Armenia on Thursday.
Armenia had purchased them from Russia at preferential internal
prices within the framework of the Organization of Collective Security
Treaty,” the Russian minister went on to say.

“This system has been in effect for many years and has enabled the
Armenian Defence Ministry to obtain two good military transport
planes,” Ivanov added.

Speaking about Russia’s military cooperation with NATO, Ivanov
specified that Russia participated in joint military exercises with
NATO only if that meets its national interests.

“As far as the participation of the Russian armed forces in joint
exercises with NATO is concerned, we do it only if we can gain some
practical benefit from it,” the Russian defence minister said.

“We have a selective approach to this issue proceeding from our
national, including military interests. If joint exercises with NATO
are of no use to our troops, we openly tell our partners about it,”
Ivanov explained.

Russia holds selective approach to joint exercises with NATO

Russia holds selective approach to joint exercises with NATO
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said on
Thursday after meeting his Armenian opposite number Serge Sarkisyan
that Russia participates in joint military exercises with NATO if
that meets its national interests.

“As far as the participation of the Russian armed forces in joint
exercises with NATO is concerned, we do it only if we can gain some
practical benefit from it,” the Russian defence minister said.

“We have a selective approach to this issue proceeding from our
national, including military interests. If joint exercises with NATO
are of no use to our troops, we openly tell our partners about it,”
Ivanov explained.

No hasty pullout of Russian bases from Georgia-defense minister

No hasty pullout of Russian bases from Georgia-defense minister
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has ruled
out hurried withdrawal of Russian troops from the military bases
in Georgia.

“There can be no haste about the removal of Russian military bases
from Georgia. This is out of the question. There will be no repetition
of what happened in the early 90’s when Russian troops were removed
from Germany,” Ivanov said after talks with his Armenian counterpart
Serge Sarkisian. “To remove bases from Georgia Russia will need time
and great financial resources to create infrastructures at the troops’
new location in Russia.”

Of late, the process of talks on the removal of Russian military
from Georgia slowed down somewhat for objective reasons following
the change of governments in Russia and Georgia.

“As soon as new delegates are appointed, the negotiations on the
removal of bases will be continued. The talks concern pullout dates
and the status of bases, which are part of the Russian military group
in the Caucasus.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

No plans to build up military personnel at base in Armenia-Ivanov

No plans to build up military personnel at base in Armenia-Ivanov
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Russia has no plans for building up the strength
of its contingent at the 102nd military base in Armenia, Russian
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has said after talks with his Armenian
counterpart Serge Sarkisian.

“There are no plans for increasing the contingent at the Gyumri base.
We believe that the number of military we have there is sufficient
and optimal. It is not quantitative, but qualitative parameters of
the base’s operation that really count, and we have monitored its
condition and performance very closely to ensure that the Russian
military base in Armenia, which is part of the Russian military group
in the Caucasus, be well supplied with ammunition, hold training under
the expected schedule and improve itself technically. Increasing the
number of Russian military at the Gyumri base will make no sense and
there are no reasons for this.”

BAKU: OSCE monitors Azeri-Armenian contact line

OSCE monitors Azeri-Armenian contact line

Space TV, Baku
21 May 04

In line with the mandate of the personal representative of the OSCE
chairman-in-office, routine monitoring was held on the contact line
between the Azerbaijani and Armenian armed forces in the village of
Yusifcanli in Agdam District today.

On the Azerbaijani side, the monitoring was conducted by Andrzej
Kasprzyk, personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office, and
his field assistants [names indistinct], and on the Armenian side –
by field assistants [names indistinct] of the personal representative
of the OSCE chairman-in-office.

Russia’s military base at Gyumri faces no problems – Ivanov

Russia’s military base at Gyumri faces no problems – Ivanov
By Alexander Konovalov, Tigran Liloyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, May 20 — Relations between Russia and Armenia in the sphere
of defense and security have been developing dynamically and steadily
and there have been no major problems in military affairs, including
the operation of the 102nd military base at Gyumri, Russian Defense
Minister Sergei Ivanov said upon arrival in Armenia on a working visit.

Russia supplies Armenia with military products at internal prices.

“These matters have been discussed regularly within the framework of
the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Armenia is entitled to
the same opportunities to buy Russian military hardware as the other
CSTO member-states.”

Later on Thursday Ivanov will hold talks with his Armenian counterpart
Serge Sarkisian to look into Russian-Armenian cooperation in the
field of defense, military-technological cooperation and military
personnel training.

“Regional security issues and situations in trouble spots will be
discussed, too,” Ivanov said.