Russian Delegation Discusses Fate of Military Bases in Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)A Russian government delegation–headed by special envoy Vsevolod Oleandrov–arrived in Yerevan Tuesday.

"We’ll carry out the second round of negotiations between the government delegations of our two countries–revise whatever has become obsolete and should be replaced–and define a plan for future activities."

Speaking about the presence of Russian military bases and the status of Russian soldiers in Armenia–Oleandrov said "it is very clear and simple and within the framework of agreemen’s between Russia and Armenia. We have a bilateral agreement about the Russian military base in Armenia. It is in the ratification stage in the Russian and Armenian parliamen’s. The Russian president made a proposal to the State Duma to ratify this agreement–and it is being considered."

"The basis of this agreement is that Russia will firmly protect its interests on the historical security borders and–at the same time–protect security interests of friendly Armenia. It is clear from Boris Yeltsin’s proposal that there is no contradiction between this agreement with the conflicts in the Transcaucasus," Oleandrov said.

The base will be protecting the security interests of Russia and Armenia–Oleandrov said–but will in no way interfere in conflicts in Armenia or in the other Transcaucasus states–including the Karabakh conflict.

It concerns the defense of borders–coinciding with that of the former Soviet Union. There are no grounds to relate this problem with conflicts in the region. General Lev Rokhlin expressed his personal point of view. This is not the point of view of the Russian Foreign Ministry–nor of the Defense Ministry," Oleandrov said–referring to Gen. Rokhlin’s recent statemen’s criticizing Russian policy in the Caucasus.

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