MOSCOW (Combined Forces)— The Russian and Armenian defense ministers on Wednesday signed an agreement on creating a joint regional air defense system in the Caucasus.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and his Armenian counterpart Seyran Ohanyan signed the agreement after talks held in Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized his government to sign the deal in October.
The two defense ministries also signed a cooperation plan for 2016.
Mutual cooperation plans for 2016 also were signed with other defense ministers, with whom Sergey Shoygu met in bilateral meetings – Kyrgyz General Staff Chief Colonel Zhanybek Kaparov, Tajik Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Sherali Mirzo, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Col. Gen. Zakir Gasanov and Kazakh Defense Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov. The meeting of the Russian and Azeri defense ministers was held under the closed doors.
“We have approved for 2016 a plan of work of the Defense Ministers’ Council of the CIS countries and a plan of common steps on the joint air defense system,” Shoygu said summing up the results of the meeting.
At the meeting, the ministers revised a cooperation plan for troops of the joint air defense system and the documents regulating the work of the coordination committee on the air defense issues at the CIS Defense Ministers’ Council.
“A number of bilateral meetings were also held,” Shoygu said. “During the talks, we discussed a broad range of issues of cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres. The plans of bilateral cooperation of the defense ministries were signed for the next year,” he said.
The participants of the meeting confirmed plans to further develop partnership based on the balance of common, regional and national interests.
Shoygu, considered Turkey’s recent attack on the Russian warplane as a “virtual betrayal”.
“Because we [Russia] were not expecting such actions at all from those who declare to the whole world that they take part in the antiterrorist operation against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations operating in Syria,” Shoygu said at the talk in Moscow with his Armenian colleague, Ohanyan.
In addition, he thanked the Armenian defense minister for the respective support and sympathy extended, and noted that Armenia was one of the first countries to react to this incident.