Germany Pledges Military Cooperation with Armenia

YEREVAN (AP)–A German military official said on Thursday that his country remained committed to furthering military cooperation with ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus in a bid to help stabilize the troubled region.

"We considered for a long time–whether we should begin cooperation in the region," Gen. Jurgen Bornemann said during a visit to Yerevan. "But as we are here–it means that we believe in the future of the countries of the South Caucasus and we will apply all efforts to bring about balance politics here."

German and Armenian officials signed a protocol–calling for establishing regular dialogue between the two nations’ militaries and providing some training for Armenian officers in Germany.

The German military delegation had earlier visited Azerbaijan and Georgia. The Caucasus region has been a hotbed of tension since the breakup of the Soviet Union–but all three ex-Soviet republics have pursued closer ties with the West.

Speaking about the NATO "Partnership for Peace" program–Bornemann praised the military training held in Armenia earlier in the summer. Regional cooperation–he emphasized is the key that opens all doors for the peaceful regulation of conflicts.

He stressed that Germany intends to maintain balanced relations with all countries of the region. "I would like to add that we do not intend to interfere in the internal affairs of these countries."

The head of Armenia’s defense ministry Department on Foreign Relations and Cooperation Michael Melkonian said the German military delegation’s visit is significant because the two countries have never had any sort of military cooperation.

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