NATO Welcomes Cooperation with Armenia

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–"We are expressing our satisfaction with the work of Armenia within the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plan program with NATO," said a statement released Thursday by the US embassy in Armenia. The message also said that for giving more professional assessment to the registered progress, Frank Boland, from NATO’s international headquarters will arrive in Armenia this week. "Every partner country makes decision on how much it wants to integrate into the Alliance on its own. Armenia has shown that it does not seek to become member of the Alliance and NATO accepts this decision at the same time greeting cooperation with Armenia." the statement of the embassy said. On a related note, the US George Marshal European Center for Security Studies said in a press release that a February 5-7 seminar in Yerevan will explore Armenia’s defense reform to develop improved cooperation and interoperability with NATO. The Armenian Ministry of Defense, is co-organizing the seminar with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies at the request of the US European Command’s Office of Defense Cooperation in Yerevan. The Ministry plans to advance its transformation efforts during the event, which is entitled Armenian Defense Reforms I: Seminar on the Civilianization of the Ministry of Defense and Amending the Law on Defense. This step follows the establishment of Armenia’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) in December 2005. In that plan Armenia committed to transforming its armed forces personnel management and civilianizing its Ministry of Defense staff. Parallel to these reforms, Armenia has set a goal to amend its 1997 Law on Defense to support the civilianization and transformation processes. An interim evaluation of Armenia’s progress was conducted in May 2006, and a full evaluation is scheduled for the spring of this year. Organizers expect about 60 participants at the seminar. In addition to staff members and experts from the Ministry of Defense and General Staff, organizers expect representatives from the National Assembly of Armenia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as other ministries and agencies. Speakers will come from NATO and countries that have already gained NATO membership, such as Estonia, Latvia, and Bulgaria. International defense and legal experts from several NATO countries will also attend.

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