State Dept. Official Evaluates Armenia’s Role in Security

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)Deputy Director of the State Department’s military-political section Eric Neusom held a press conference Tuesday to brief reporters on his ongoing visit to Armenia and reported that during his stay in Armenia–he and Armenian officials had discussed numerous issues of mutual interest.

"My visit is a continuation of previous talks with Armenia’s government officials–as well as last summer’s visit by US Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis’ visit to Armenia. During my visit I also reviewed the visit to the US by foreign minister Alexander Arzoumanian," Neusom expressed.

Neusom told reporters that during his talks with Armenian officials–development of Armenia’s ties with Europe’s security structures–including the issue of NATO partnership for peace program was discussed.

Russia’s role in the region–as well as European institutions such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union were also discussed.

"In general–we stressed [Armenia’s] role in the creation of a comprehensive European security structure–which would benefit the independence of states–stability and democratic progress," Neusom stated.

Caucasus regional cooperation–security and relations with neighboring states were also part of the officlas’ agenda.

The State Department official stated that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was not part of the discussion agenda–yet "I–once again–would like to reiterate my government’s commitment to actively pursue a balanced and lasting peace in this terrible conflict."

Neusom also stated that during talks with Armenian officials–Armenia’s participation in NATO’s partnership for peace program was extensively discussed–opining that Armenia was actively taking part in that project.

He also expressed his encouragement for Armenia’s interest in the soon-to-be established Atlantic Cooperation Council.

"The United States believes that Armenia’should become a full member of the security structure being created in Europe. We call on Armenia to join the Atlantic Cooperation Council–so that Armenia’s voice can be heard in European security matters," Neusom said.

Neusom and his delegation met with Armenia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Manaserian– US interests section director Tigran Martirossian–as well as deputy defense minister Vahan Shirkhanian.

In his briefing–however–Neusom did not remark on recent announcemen’s by the Armenian Foreign Ministry that Azerbaijan had violated the principles of Conventional Forces Treaty–adding that he was unaware of such an announcement.

"We are interested to see that the treaty is observed by all parties. The treaty also provides a check & balance mechanism–and allows for an immediate evaluation of violations," explained Neusom.

The State Department official also expressed US willingness to provide assistance–which would allow Armenia to monitor its exports and detect illegal weapons–arms and other artillery from entering the country.

This type of assistance–Neusom explained was requested by Armenian officials.

Stressing that Russia had legitimate political and economic interests in the Caucasus–Neusom added that other states also had similar interests–and there were no reasons for not cooperating with other countries–as long as those countires maintained their sovereignty and territorial integrity.


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