General Says Russia Has Interests in Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Colonel-General Konstantin Totsky–the Director of the Federal Border Service of Russia–expressed gratitude to the Armenian government for the full and timely fulfillment of obligations on financing the operative group of the FBS of Russia in Armenia at a meeting with Prime Minister Andranik Margarian on Wednesday.

According to the government’s public relations department–Totsky and Minister of National Security Karlos Petrosyan signed a protocol of the meeting–and a protocol of the financial-economic estimates of the operative group’s activities of the FBS of Russia in Armenia for 2002 was signed with Minister of Finance and Economy Vardan Khachatryan.

Totsky gave Karlos Petrosyan a medal "For the Strengthening of Military Cooperation." A number of the Russian and Armenian servicemen of the operative group were awarded "For distinguished services in state border protection." The Prime Minister gave the Director of the FBS of Russia a nominal weapon.

At a press conference at the parliament the same day–Totsky mentioned that in the last two years–Armenia fulfilled its obligations on financing the operative group on schedule and the sums are given not at the end of the year but evenly throughout the whole year. He stressed the dilligence with which the Armenian authorities guard their own borders. "Although Armenia is not a rich country–it manages to allocates money from its budget for the defense of state borders and for its improvement." He mentioned that the outposts in the territory of the republic are up to par with only a few others–where the basic repairs are performed according to European standards. The government funding is enough to provide the frontier guards with food–equipment and heat. He stressed that the attitude of the local population and local bodies is also encouraging–which is a great moral stimulus for frontier guards.

According to Totsky–the level of the reliability of the defense of Armenian state borders corresponds to that of the Soviet period. He mentioned that the reasons for the increase in the number of border transgressors in 2001 in comparison with 2000 is unknown–but the indicated cases do not present a great threat. As for the transportation of drugs through the Armenian territory–the volumes are not as much as they are in Russia–where they reached a threatening level in 2001. Totsky reported that last year–on the borders of Russia–a total of 5 tons–903 kg of drugs–3.5 tons of which are heroin–were confiscated.

Totsky mentioned that because of the unresolved Karabakh and Chechen conflicts–the tension in the Caucasus are preserved. In particular–the penetration of gunmen into Chechnya through the regions of the country is continuing–but there are no data about the movemen’s of gunmen or transportation of arms through the Armenian territory.

The Director of the FBS of Russia’stressed that Russia has very serious interests in Armenia–"These are both traditional friendly relations and the necessity for working out common approaches in the political sphere and cooperation in the economic–military and military-technical spheres."

The chief of the Russian Border Troops Konstantin Totsky and Armenia’s National Security Minister Karlos Petrosian signed a memorandum in Yerevan on Wednesday–codifying the results of the working meetings between Armenian government officials and the chief of Russian Border Troops. A separate memorandum was also signed between Totsky and Armenia’s Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian approving the estimated cost of the joint efforts to patrol Armenia’s borders.

Speaking to the reporters after the signing ceremony Totsky said the Armenia’s side was meeting its financial obligations on schedule. According to the Armenian-Russian agreement–Armenia finances 57 percent of expenses regarding the joint border patrol. Totsky also praised the Armenian authorities for securing the staff of the Russian border troops stationed in Armenia with housing conditions.

Secretary of the Presidential National Security Council–Minister of Defense Serge Sargssian met with Director of the Federal Border Service–Colonel-General Konstantin Totsky to discuss the issues of joint defense of the borders and reinforcing the sub-units of the Russian Federal Border Service’s operating group stationed in Armenia with Armenian citizens.

The public relations department of the Ministry of Defense told reporters that the sides emphasized the importance of further cooperation in preparing national border personnel in Armenia.

To sum up the meeting–the Colonel-General awarded Armenian Minister of Defense with a medal "For strengthening cooperation between Armenia and Russia."

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