Armenian Defense Minister Rumsfeld Discuss Military Cooperation

WASHINGTON–DC (Combined Sources)–The US government intends to expand military-technical cooperation with Armenia–US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told his Armenian counterpart Serge Sarkisian during a meeting at the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld praised Armenia’s participation in the fight against international terrorism–as well as its peacekeeping unit in Iraq. "Sarkisian must be proud of them," he later told reporters.

Sarkisian conveyed Armenia’s readiness to expand defense cooperation with the US and thanked the US for the assistance that it has already provided. The two countries are looking to reform Armenia’s defense sector.

"We can’t miss this opportunity to reform our armed forces," Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian also met with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns to review US political and military cooperation.

Their meeting focused on regional security–specifically the need to settle the Mountainous Karabagh conflict peacefully–and only within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. They stressed that other alternatives are simply "unacceptable."

In a separate meeting with US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar–Sarkisian thanked the US Senate for its assistance to Armenia’since gaining independence.

Lugar pointed to the high level of military cooperation between Armenia and the US and thanked Sarkisian for Armenia’s participation in the global war on terror.

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