Russian Defense Minister Praises CIS Council Meeting Hails Cooperation

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– "The activities of the CIS Defense Ministers’ Council are steadily moving onto a new level," the Council chairman–minister of defense of Russia–Marshall Igor Sergeyev said following a regular Council meeting in Yerevan on May 20. He stressed that the activities of the Council proved its capability of effectively assisting in finding solutions to problems of military cooperation among CIS countries–which is especially important in the current geopolitical situation.

Armenia’s defense minister Vazgen Sargsyan said the main result of the Yerevan summit was that its participants showed interest in collective cooperation and in the establishment of common security–without which it is impossible to ensure the stable development of CIS countries. The minister quoted historical experience.

During the meeting the heads of military departmen’s signed final documen’s. The meeting discussed the creation of common systems of military purpose within the framework of the CIS and measures to optimize the management of CIS anti-aircraft defense.

Igor Sergeyev drew special attention to upcoming joint military exercise. He did not rule out that during the decisive phase of the exercise on August 25 regular consultations of the chiefs of CIS military departmen’s will be held.

In addition–the meeting discussed a draft protocol on amendmen’s to the agreement between the CIS countries on social and legal guarantees of servicemen. The draft protocol will be submitted to the Council of CIS Heads of State and the Council of CIS Heads of Government for consideration.

The participation of World War II veterans in the military parade marking the 55th anniversary of the victory over fascism was also discussed.

A decision was made concerning the coordination of activities of topographical–hydrometeorological and other services of the military forces of CIS states.

According to the Russian minister–the summit also took of the issue of the crisis in the Balkans and stated a unanimous opinion – to take most active steps to end hostilities.

President Robert Kocharian met Sergeyev–who was accompanied by Sargsyan.

The two countries’ defense ministers told the Armenian president about the results of the meeting of the CIS Defense Minister’s Council.

The three also discussed prospects for the CIS–the Collective Security Treaty–as well as bilateral relations within the framework of the deals and agreemen’s signed.

Armenia on Thursday rejected Azerbaijan’s allegations that China has provided Yerevan with sophisticated weaponry and expertise on using them. Vafa Guluzade–a top aide to Azeri President Haydar Aliyev–was on Tuesday quoted by Reuters news agency as accusing China of supplying Typhoon rocket systems to Armenia– reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The Chinese ambassador in Baku was reportedly handed an Azeri protest note over the alleged arms deliveries.

Sargsyan said Thursday that "nothing of the sort happened." He was the first Armenian official to react to the allegations. The office of President Robert Kocharian and the foreign ministry have not yet released any statemen’s to that effect.

Guluzade also alleged that the agreement on supplying Armenia with Typhoon rockets was reached during Sargsyan’s visit to China last summer with his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev.

The Azeri official said Russia is intent on forging an alliance with China "against the West." Sergeyev called the charges "nonsense."

The surface-to-surface rockets are said to have a firing range of 60 to 80 kilometers. There has been no official reaction from Beijing yet.

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