Russia’s Chief of Staff Arrives in Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–General Anatoly Kvashnin–Chief of Staff of the Russian government–arrived in Armenia Tuesday for an official visit. At the Zvartnots airport Kvashnin told reporters that it was his first scheduled visit to Armenia. He said that Russia participation in the international efforts to combat terrorism will be mainly in the from of humanitarian aid and a team of the Russian emergency ministry has already left for Afghanistan.

Asked to present Russia’s attitude towards the possibility of allowing its air space to be used for possible air strikes against Afghanistan–Kvashnin said that it is normal because during flights planes need to fly over territories of neighboring countries.

During his two-day visit–the Chief of the Staff will meet with Armenia’s President–Defense Minister–will visit the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin–and he will visit The Genocide Memorial where he will lay a wreath in memory of the Genocide victims. On October 3–Kvashnin and other members of the delegation will visit Giumri where they will take part in a ceremony establishing joint military duty of anti-aircraft defense. Kvashnin is also scheduled to meet with the personnel of the 102nd Russian base.

At the airport the general was met by Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Armenia–Lieutenant-General Mikael Haroutiunian–the deputy defense ministers and high-ranking officers–as well as Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia Anatoly Dryukov.

Armenian Minister of Defense Serge Sargssian met with Kvashnin on Tuesday. During the meeting the sides discussed the implementation of the agreemen’s signed during Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov’s visit to Armenia this September–as well as the efficient ways of developing the Armenian-Russian military cooperation.

The sides exchanged views on international and regional politico-military developmen’s–stressing the necessity for harmonious development of the bilateral relations in the defense sphere–in the context of preserving an atmosphere of stable security in the region.

President Robert Kocharian greeted Kvashnin and the accompanying Russian delegation on Tuesday also. As it was reported from the president’s press office–during the meeting issues concerning the activity Russian military unit located in Armenia were discussed. They both agreed that a joint effort against international terrorism is very important to both nations.

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