Armenia Greece to Hold Joint Military Exercises

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–Armenian troops will take part in military exercises to be held in Greece under NATO’s Partnership for Peace program this year–according to Lieutenant-General Mikhail Arutiunyan–first deputy defense minister and chief of the General Staff.

Arutiunyan was speaking at a press conference on Saturday after a visit to Yerevan by the chief of the Greek National Defense General Staff– Atanasios Tzoganis.

The Armenian general described the visit as "a logical continuation of relations based on the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the two countries and an agreement on military cooperation between Greece and Armenia."

Tzoganis said that the two countries have approved steps to expand cooperation in the area of military training.

On Friday–the Greek general had a meeting with Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Tzoganis expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation between Greece and Armenia–governmental press services reported.

Asked about Greece’s attitude toward Turkey’s invasion into Iraq’s territory–Tzoganis noted that many countries have already voiced their opinion about the necessity to immediately pull out from Iraq. According to the Greek General–"invasion is invasion," and even if it is the struggle against terrorism in Iraq–all problems must be solved peacefully.

Commenting on Greece’s attitude towards appearance of Turkish military ships near Cyprus–Tzoganis reminded that similar incidents have taken place over the past two years–though this time the number of ships is larger. He emphasized that Cyprus is a sovereign country and if the appearance of Turkish ships create problems the Cypriot Government can take relevant steps to solve them.

Speaking of balance of forces in the region–the General voiced a fear that Turkey’s claims to play the role of the predominant force can create certain problems. "I do not want to say that Greece can play this role. There are big and small countries in the region–and I believe that their cooperation will lead to peace," he said.

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