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Armenia has become closer to NATO2012-07-04 18:44
Armenia resumes its participation in NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, but this time as part of the American contingent. Such a statement was made in an interview with "The Armenian Soldiers" by the Defense Minister Seiran Ohanyan.
According to the Defense Ministry, Armenia and the U.S. have agreed on the basis of the Armenian-American consultations on defense issues in the United States in July last year. "Defense cooperation between Armenia and the United States has great potential for development, and there is a lot to be done", the Minister said.
Since 2004, the Armenian contingent participated in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo in the Greek battalion. But due to financial difficulties Athens have suspended its participation in the mission. However, after this the Defense Minister of Armenia said that Yerevan was ready to continue its participation in the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo if one of the European countries offers the same conditions as Greece did.
Commentators in Armenia immediately focused on two main points. First, the Armenian Armed Forces will participate in the peacekeeping mission as part of the American contingent. Second, it is a good opportunity to exchange experiences and modernize the Armenian armed units under the system of Western Armed Forces. Thus, in the Armenian Armed Forces there are gradually emerging units, which will be equipped and upgraded under NATO standards.
This cooperation should also be considered in the broader context of the foreign policy of the Armenian state balancing between Russia and the U.S. Yerevan is actively involved in the integration processes in the CIS space and is a member of the military-political bloc Collective Security Treaty Organization; but at the same time its is very close to NATO, it is participating in peacekeeping missions in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan (now only in Afghanistan).
In addition, NATO has supported Armenia in the process of defense reform. This is an indicator of balancing complementary foreign policy, which is thus trying to improve its strategic importance for Russia and the West, given the specificity of the South Caucasus region (where the outputs to the outer world is blocked from both sides for Armenia). However, in the first place the Armenia's foreign policy is dictated by the entourage of regional security and aimed to address this particular problem.
Resumption of Armenia's participation in the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo is rather important element in the development of the Armenian Armed Forces in general and peacekeeping forces in particular. Deputy Director of the Caucasus Institute, an expert on security issues Sergey Minasian told GTimes correspondent about this.
"In fact, Armenian troops will participate in the peacekeeping mission as part of the American contingent for the first time, which is quite important in the problem of increase the compatibility of Armenian troops with the leading armed forces in the world. It's kind of an additional opportunity to enhance the potential of the peacekeeping brigade", the expert stressed.