Urnov Agrees with Russia On Solana Visit

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan) — "We don’t think that NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana was holding a grudge during his visit to the Transcaucasian states. We saw that the reason for his tour was to visit the members of the `Partnership for Peace’ program," Russian Ambassador to Armenia Andrei Urnov said during a news conference on Monday.

The Ambassador also noted that he fully accepted the reaction from Moscow. According to him–Russia is very concerned over the visit of such a "high level figure" to a region which had never been in NATO’s interests.

"We are against NATO’s expansion to the East," Urnov said. He also said that these measures allegedly aimed at improving the situation in Europe–may–in fact–make it worse.

Urnov noted that if the NATO front line moved up to the borders of the former USSR and the present Commonwealth of Independent States–the geostrategic situation would change greatly.

"This is a fundamental issue which is not to be connected with the current state of affairs. Perhaps– no one thinks of attacking us now–but we are not insured against such an aggression in the future," Urnov said.

He said that it was difficult to view NATO’s expansion only as a process of integrating Europe because NATO is a military organization.

First Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Vartan Oskanian met with Russian Parliament member Sergey Mitrokhin Tuesday to discuss the current state of Armenia-Russia relations–as well as prospects for the settlement of conflicts in Chechnya–Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia.

Oskanian presented Armenia’s position on Karabakh–stressing the perspectives of the negotiating process in view of the appointment of the new Misnk Group co-chairmanship following the Lisbon Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Mitrokhin arrived in Armenia to attend the Caucasian Regional Student Conference held in Tsakhkadzor.


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