Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 163

The defense ministers of Armenia and Bulgaria, Vazgen Sarkisian and Dimiter Pavlov, signed September 2 in Yerevan an agreement on bilateral military cooperation. According to initial reports the agreement covers deliveries of military equipment, joint programs in military industry, unspecified research work, and officers’ training. The ministers described this agreement as a basis for further steps in military and military-industrial cooperation. The Bulgarian minister declared that the "the Armenian and Bulgarian peoples’ common historic fate serve as a good basis for military cooperation" — a transparent allusion to past Turkish Ottoman rule. (Noyan-Tapan, Interfax, September 3) Sarkisian stated that the agreement, and Armenian-Bulgarian military cooperation in general, is not aimed against "any third country."

Turkey is likely to see it differently, particularly in the light of Armenia’s military cooperation agreement with Greece, signed by Sarkisian with his Greek counterpart earlier this year. In both cases, Armenia appears to be trying to outflank Turkey by exploiting historic animosities between the Turks and their neighbors, in regions bearing no relation to Armenia’s security. The policy may discourage the trend toward moderation, which was seen in Ankara’s policy on the Karabakh issue.

Georgia, Ukraine Discuss Major Rapprochement.