Armenia’s first deputy foreign minister, Vardan Oskanian, has just held talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels on a more active Armenian participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. In announcing this yesterday, the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan pointedly commented that such participation would only be "additional to" Armenia’s bilateral military cooperation with Russia and multilateral security cooperation within the CIS. At the same time, however, a possible role by NATO in Caucasus security "should not be seen as a counterweight to Russia’s role…particularly since Russia and NATO have signed a cooperation charter." Counterposing Russia’s and NATO’s respective roles would constitute a "destructive approach," Gasparian commented. He charged that Azerbaijan follows that approach by viewing NATO as a counterweight to Russia. (Noyan-Tapan, Russian agencies, November 24)
Armenia’s participation in PfP has until now been negligible. Yerevan is evidently anxious not to damage its special relationship with Moscow. That relationship’s centerpiece, the alliance treaty signed on August 29 by the two presidents, was forwarded yesterday by Boris Yeltsin to the Duma for ratification. Last week, Armenia participated for the first time in a joint PfP exercise by sending token military personnel to an exercise held in the Balkans. (Noyan-Tapan, Armenpress, November 20, 24)
Kremlin Consultant Encourages Armenian Firmness on Karabakh.