Armenia Welcomes Boosting Relations with Russia

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–Parliament Speaker Khosrov Haroutiunian said there are no political forces in Armenia which would oppose the development of relations with Russia–on Monday.

All political parties–including opposition ones–back the idea of developing mutually advantageous cooperation with Moscow–Haroutiunian said.

Armenia proceeds from the fact that it is necessary to preserve political partnership in order to implement the bilateral treaty on friendship and mutual assistance–which has been recently ratified by the Armenian parliament–he said.

This treaty is the only document within the Commonwealth of Independent States–in which both sides express their readiness for cooperation in national security and defense–parliamentary spokesman Vahagn Mkrtchyan told Itar-Tass.

The treaty stresses that Yerevan and Moscow are strategic partners–Mkrtchyan said. The Russian military base exists in Armenia on a legal basis. The Armenian border with Turkey and Iran is guarded with the help of Russian servicemen–according to him.

The atomic power plant–which is an Armenian-Russian joint venture–has resumed work–virtually putting an end to Armenia’s crisis of power supplies–he said.

Armenia and Russia’set up a joint venture–Armrosgazprom–in late 1997 to coordinate the transit of Russian gas to third countries.

Mkrtchyan said relations between the Armenian and Russian parliamen’s were wonderful. They cooperate both with each other and at CIS and European inter-parliamentary assemblies–he said.

Yerevan officials have said that the recent changes in Armenia’s leadership "cannot influence its cooperation with Russia negatively," Russian Ambassador to Armenia Andrei Ournov said.

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