Armenia, U.S. to Expand Military Ties

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia and Eurasia, Evelyn Farkas, and U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern (left) held defense consultations with Armenian officials in Yerevan. Dec. 19, 2013.

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia will deepen its military ties with the United States despite planning to join new Russian-led alliances of former Soviet republics, First Deputy Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan said on Thursday after two-day U.S.-Armenian “defense consultations.”

“Our president, defense minister and foreign minister have repeatedly stated that there are no obstacles, no changes in our military and security cooperation,” he said. “Joining one or another economic bloc does not inhibit Armenia. On the contrary, our defense cooperation with the United States will develop and deepen further.”

Tonoyan argued that that cooperation is regarded by the Armenian leadership as “one of the important factors” of national security. He insisted that Russia, which has a close military alliance with Armenia, does not object to it.

Tonoyan as spoke at a joint news conference with Evelyn Farkas, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia and Eurasia who headed a delegation of U.S. military officials during the consultations. Farkas held separate talks with Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Wednesday.

“Armenia is a significant partner to the United States in many ways,” Farkas told reporters. “As a partner in the Caucasus region, as a partner with NATO in the Partnership for Peace [program,] as a partner with the U.S. European Command in promoting regional stability, and as a partner with the Kansas National Guard.”

“These bilateral defense consultations are an opportunity for us to talk about how we can continue to expand and deepen our defense relationship,” the Pentagon official said. She added that the two sides concentrated on continued U.S. assistance to an Armenian army unit providing troops to ongoing NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

It was announced that the Pentagon will allocate $1.5 million in fresh aid designed to expand Armenia’s “peacekeeping capabilities” in 2014-2015. Tonoyan clarified that it will be spent on exercises and training programs that will facilitate Armenians deployments in other trouble spots.

In particular, Yerevan plans to contribute 60 troops to a United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon next year. Around 200 Armenian soldiers currently serve in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Farkas lavished praise on those servicemen, saying that they have turned Armenia into a “net exporter of security.” “That allows Armenia to continue to elevate its stature internationally,” she said.

“This visit [by Farkas] highlights the strong and expanding cooperation between the United States and Armenia in the area of defense,” the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said in a statement issued earlier this week.

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7 Comments

  1. GB said:

    I wonder what US military ties mean to Armenia, when US and NATO have 24 military bases in Turkey!!

  2. Sosay said:

    Interesting… Armenia seems to be a rather forgiving country, to cooperate with the U.S. when our current President (and a few past Presidents) made a strong campaign promise to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire of Turkey, then failed to keep that promise. (Realize that Armenia has the backing of Russia and doesn’t “need” the U.S. as much as one might think…) Seems to me that the U.S. is in need of strategically placed U.S. forces – well, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself on this one…

  3. Arn Sweden.. said:

    God bevere !.

    Dont let the US come to close and learn about Your Military secrets,
    as soon as War erupts,
    they will stand by the Turks and You will have Them by Your Troaths.

    Arn.Sweden.

  4. Hratch said:

    All the comments above come from naive and personal emotions. If the government of Armenia actually followed your advise, they’d be in a perilous position. This is not about petty personal motives or revenge. Armenia is a political entity on the world scene. It must work with all sides to remain relevant. Yes, Russia does help Armenia, but on the other hand, America and the West have other advantages that we can not ignore.

    The world is a dynamic place, alliances change all the time. We can not be so simple and naive to putt all our eggs in one basket. I would think that our elected politicians know a thing or two about world affairs. After all, they rose to position through merit and qualification…..and surely not by being armchair politicians commenting here.

  5. Sarkis said:

    I think this would be a good time to direct the attention of Asbarez’s readers to some of the darker truths about the United States Armed Forces today that the mainstream media generally covers up or at least grossly under-reports. The link below contains an insightful analsysis and a large collection of relevant article. Armenians should be concerned at the thought of the noble Armenian Armed Forces getting too mixed up with these people:

    http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/01/sexual-assault-murder-severe-corruption.html

  6. Chris said:

    Say it isn’t so. I hope Armenian and US military do not commingle for lack of a better word. The IS has a very long vistory of betraying its non-israele allies. Just ask any middle eastern country. Iran, Iraq, Afganistan, Yemen, Pakistan are only a few examples I can think of. Please Armenia I am begging you do not be another victim of the US.

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