YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—A team of visiting NATO representatives reportedly found further progress in Armenia’s relationship with the alliance after four days of meetings with Armenian government and military officials that ended on Friday.
The delegation led by Frank Boland, a senior official from NATO’s Defense Policy and Planning Division, arrived in Yerevan on April for 4 a regular review of measures taken by the Armenian government under its Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO.
It concluded the trip with a meeting with an Armenian inter-ministerial commission coordinating IPAP-related actions. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the NATO officials shared their preliminary assessment with Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian and other members of the commission.
“They noted the progress that has been registered towards the realization of objectives set in those documents,” the ministry said in a statement. It said commission members briefed the NATO team on “the work carried out in their areas of responsibility, existing problems, and the main priorities.”
Boland also had a separate meeting with Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian on Friday.
The IPAP, which was launched in 2005, commits Armenia to implementing defense reforms aimed at bringing its armed forces into greater conformity with NATO standards and practices. It also envisages greater Armenian participation in NATO-led multinational missions and military exercises.
Yerevan publicized a revised version of the cooperation framework last year. The document reaffirms its intention to “draw closer” to the Western alliance and calls for a deeper reform of the Armenian army.
In particular, the Armenian authorities are to ensure “maximum transparency” in defense planning and budgeting and an “adequate mix” of civilian and military personnel within the Defense Ministry. They are also due to “review” the military’s chain of command and control procedures as well as to revamp the military education and training systems “so that the best-qualified personnel are assigned to the appropriate positions.”
The IPAP also refers to European integration as Armenia’s chief foreign policy priority and calls for “a comprehensive package of political, judicial, and electoral reforms” in the country.