Defense Chief Says Armenia, U.S. to Expand Military Cooperation

Defense Minister Ohanyan with Secretary of Defense Panetta

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian expects Armenia’s military cooperation with the United States to broaden in the near future after a series of high-level meetings he held in Washington last week.

Seyran Ohanian paid a working visit to the United States on March 19-23 during which he met at the Pentagon with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and also held meetings with other senior American officials, including CIA Director David Petraeus.

Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday, the Armenian defense minister said military cooperation with the United States was in its “normal course”.

“It expands from year to year particularly in terms of assistance in the implementation of reforms and on the level of expertise on all matters,” Ohanian said. “We will expand our cooperation within the framework of existing programs.”

In April, the U.S. and Armenian militaries are expected to hold their first-ever joint exercises aimed at improving the interoperability of their forces deployed in Afghanistan. A top official from the U.S. European Command discussed preparations for the weeklong exercises with Ohanian during a visit to Yerevan last month.

Plans for the landmark drills were first made public after Armenian Deputy Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan paid a visit to Washington in July 2011 for what official Yerevan described as “defense consultations” with U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow and other senior Pentagon officials.

Tonoyan visited Washington shortly after Armenia almost tripled its participation in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan. It currently has about 130 troops on the ground.

During Ohanian’s March 23 meeting at the Pentagon, U.S. Defense Chief Panetta also expressed appreciation for Yerevan’s “strong contributions” to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

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6 Comments

  1. AraK said:

    It is unfortunate that Armenians are leaving the country and their void is replaced slowly by foreigners, mainly Iranians. Soon our dear president will be presiding on foreigners and the few remaining Armenians. Military cooperations to defend what? The oligarchs, their relatives and their stolen monies??? God forbid if war is declared they will beat the sh•t out of us. No discipline in the ranks, the supreme commander fat pig is busy with his own business, drunk officers beating and killing young recruits. Let’s be honest, we are in a pitiful state!
    It would have been so much different…

  2. hayko yesilkoyluian said:

    if american gavornment were honest they would invate f-15 lighting jet flight program the Armenia but they invated Turks its clear their message.

  3. John Minassian said:

    The Obama administration is only interested in Azeri oil and it will never help Armenia. This insane policy will come to bite the US in the back. They seem to forget that the Cold War is over and there is no need to support Turkey anymore. Instead on focusing on defense related sales only , why doesn’t the Obama adminstration focus on re-establishing the US industrial base and creating new jobs in American factories instead of exporting factory jobs to China, Mexico, India and other developing countries. This inaction of the Obama administration is why the economic disaster is continuing.

  4. Peter Megerdumian said:

    Obama tries to claim that he represents change yet he is a part of the military industrial complex. Obama’s biggest benefactor is the Crown family (who are Jewish) and own General Dynamics, a major defense contractor who does alot of work with Turkey. The military industrial complex is destroying America and is destroying American democracy and turning this country into a plutocracy ruled by the military industrial complex and Wallstreet.

  5. Peter Megerdumian said:

    Obama is a part of the military-industrial complex yet he has acted that he is a Washington outsider. The biggest and earliest supporters of Obama was Lester Crown from Chicago who is a major stockholder in General Dynamics which is involved in the missle defense program to prevent a so-called rogue state from attacking the US which is fantasy. The Military industrial complex is destroying America as is Wallstreet. Wallstreet and the military industrial complex have turned the US into a plutocracy.Lets hope the 99 percent will win.

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