Hovhannisian: Russia’s Position not Conducive to Armenia’s Ability to Freely Decide to Send Troops to Iraq

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The issue of sending an Armenian military unit to Iraq was discussed at the recently held meeting of the Armenian-Russian Interparliamentary Cooperation Commission.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Vahan Hovhannisian–who co-chairs the interparliamentary commission and headed up the Armenian delegation–reported on December 7 that the Russian side had expressed concern at the prospect of Armenian troops in Iraq.

Hovhannisian said the Armenian side–in turn–raised the issue of whether Russia’s forgiving of Iraq’s multibillion-dollar debt is not tantamount to providing economic assistance to an Iraqi government that is an instrument of US occupation.

The deputy speaker also underscored that Russia had not forgiven Armenia’s debt–which is significantly less than Iraq’s.

"We told our Russian colleagues that their positions in international forums do not at all contribute to Armenia’s ability to make a sovereign decision regarding the matter [of sending troops to Iraq]," Hovhannisian stated.

The Russian side also expressed a certain level of resentment regarding Armenia’s relations with NATO–according to the deputy speaker. "We clearly explained to our colleagues that those relations are one of the prongs of our independent policy–and we are not prepared to make concessions in that regard," Hovhannisian said.

The head of the Armenian delegation said the sides had–nevertheless–reached an agreement to hold interparliamentary consultations regarding matters that deal with NATO.

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