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Russian base in Armenia is no longer a threat to Georgia2013-03-07 19:21
Georgia's position on the 102nd Russian military base deployed in Armenia has changed. The base no longer poses a threat to security of the Georgian state.
102nd Russian military base in Armenia was deployed at the request of Yerevan in the town of Gyumri in 1995, in accordance with international treaties. It is performing combat duty as part of the Joint CIS Air Defense System. The base is subjected to a group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasus of the Southern Military District of Russia. It is equipped with anti-aircraft missile systems S-300, as well as fighters MiG-29. The number of troops is about 5000 people. The lion's share of the costs to maintain the base lies on Armenia. In 2010, the term of its deployment was extended until 2049.
Former Georgian leadership headed by Mikheil Saakashvili has repeatedly stated the inadmissibility of presence of the base in neighboring Armenia, since "it threatens the security of Georgia".
At a joint press conference with Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan in Yerevan, on March 7, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania diplomatically expressed a position, which is very different from the rhetoric of the previous leadership. He said he did not think the 102nd military base in Gyumri security posed a threat to the country. "We talked about the issue of security, we also talked about the fact that Russian bases in the occupied Abkhazia and Ossetia were threatening the security of Georgia", Alasania said answering the question of the "Big Caucasus" reporter.
As for the presence of the 102nd base in Armenia, the Minister appealed to Armenia, which in this case acts as a kind of guarantor for Tbilisi. "We are convinced that the Armenian side will not allow using the base against the interests of Georgia", said the head of the Defense Ministry of Georgia.
As noted by observers, after the change of power in Georgia as a result of the parliamentary election last year, after a long phase of cooling in Georgian-Russian relations there have been outlined some symptoms of a thaw. Georgia's attitude to Armenia has also changed. The parties began to discuss the possibility of opening the Abkhaz railway, which is naturally negatively perceived by Baku. This makes the blockade of Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict useless. The above could not fail to positively influence the position of Tbilisi in relation to the 102nd base. Base in Gyumri, under the agreement, is designed exclusively to the security of Armenia.