Armenia Concerned Over Situation in Georgia

YEREVAN (Armenpress–ArmInfo)–Chairman of Parliament committee on defense–national security and interior issues Vahan Hovanessian from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation told a news conference on March 4 that the true cause of deployment of US troops in Georgia is not the mounting tension in the volatile Pankisi gorge–the hotbed of Chechen terrorists and criminals groupings–but the domestic political situation in Georgia.

Hovanessian claimed that Georgia could resolve the problems with Chechen terrorists with its own force–or at least–it could ask Russia for help. He said inviting US troops to the country has a rather political implication.

Hovanessian went on to say that the situation in neighboring Georgia cannot fail to raise concerns in Armenia–as "tomorrow Georgian authorities may declare that Abkhazia or Javakhk (predominately Armenian-populated region in the south) are sheltering terrorists and ask the US to deploy forces there." The same tactics–according to him–can be sued by Azerbaijan to deploy US troops on borders with Nagorno Karabakh.

The chairman added that Armenia’s neutral position is dictated by the need to continue keeping friendly relations with Georgia.

Hovanessian also discussed the current level of cooperation between Armenia and NATO–which he deemed as slow–reported the ArmInfo news agency.

However–he said that there were a number of objective reasons for this and that the main one was Turkey’s membership of NATO. He said that it was difficult for Armenia to cooperate with NATO when one of its members–Turkey–was basically waging an undeclared war against Armenia. And what is worse–the parliament member said–is that the other NATO member states are not trying to prevent this action by Turkey.

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