Armenian Russian Defense Chiefs to Forge Closer Links

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian flew to Moscow on Monday to sign new agreemen’s aimed at increasing the already close military cooperation between Armenia and Russia–the Armenian defense ministry said.

"It is planned to discuss and sign a number of documen’s that will further deepen integration processes in the military sphere between the defense agencies of Armenia and Russia ," the ministry said in a statement. Harutiunian was due to meet with his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeev and other top officials.

The 41-year-old general accompanied President Robert Kocharian during his talks with Russian leaders in Moscow on November 5.

Armenia and Russia are signatories of the 1992 Collective Security Treaty binding together the most former Soviet republics. Russia has reinforced its military presence in Armenia over the past year with the deployment of S-300 air-defense missiles and the sophisticated MiG-29 aircraft.

Harutiunian–who worked for several years in Moscow as Armenia’s chief military representative before being appointed minister last June–is thought to have strong connections with the Russian military.

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