YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Issues of bilateral cooperation were discussed during the visit of the Romanian delegation led by Minister of National Defense Ioan Mircea Pascu to Armenia. On April 9–toward the end of the visit of the Romanian delegation–authorized representatives of the chiefs of the two countries’ military departmen’s signed a program of bilateral military cooperation between Armenia and Romania for 2001.
After the signing ceremony both countries’ defense ministers said that the sides would cooperate also within the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. According to Pascu–the process foreseen by the agreement between the two sides in 1999 was continued at the Yerevan talks.
Stressing that "any country has the right and–moreover–ought to find the forms and methods that enhance its security"–Armenia’s Defense Minister Serge Sargsian said Armenian-Romanian cooperation had good prospects of development. Besides the military sphere–the sides also discussed possibilities of closer interaction in other spheres as well.
In the context of developing economic cooperation the sides stressed the importance of establishing a direct air link between Armenia and Romania. The representative of the Romanian government pointed out the interest in Armenia in Romanian furniture–opportunities for cooperation in the field of meteorology. His Armenian counterpart added that once Armenia imported grains and oil products from Romania. According to Serge Sargsian–the task of both countries is to ensure a corresponding legal framework and possibilities for closer entrepreneurial ties. A meeting of Romanian and Armenian businessmen is due to be held this summer.
The leader of the Romanian delegation expressed hope that the Key West talks would bring about closer understanding between the warring sides. "We would be happy if President Kocharian returned to Armenia with good news," he said–expressing his conviction that the solution to the Karabakh problem was critical not only to Armenia but also to the region as a whole. The same can be said about the Balkans–as the Balkan conflicts constrain all the countries of the region from making progress," emphasized Ioan Mircea Pascu–who recently participated in the meeting of the defense ministers of South-Eastern Europe held in the capital of Macedonia. That meeting stressed the need for preserving Macedonia’s territorial integrity and signed a joint statement against Albanian terror. The meeting also decided to render assistance to Macedonia.
Romania’s defense minister announced that his Armenian counterpart would pay a visit to Bucharest at the invitation of the Romanian side. An agreement on mutual visits of experts to identify trends of cooperation was also reached.