YEREVAN—Biological laboratories operating in Armenia are of civilian nature, and military presence there is ruled out, foreign ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan said at a press briefing.
“The sanitary-epidemic control sector is part of the Armenian-Russian bilateral relations. A dialogue exists over this matter, however these laboratories belong to Armenia and have civilian nature. There cannot be any talk about a military presence there in the case of Armenia,” she said.
Earlier Russian FM Sergey Lavrov had said during an interview that Armenia and Russia are currently working on the draft of a document that will guarantee the absence of foreign military in Armenia. He was speaking in the context of the laboratories.
The foreign ministry spokesperson also touched another Russian warning, this time from Russia’s deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin, who warned Armenia that the United States was exerting pressure on Yerevan, namely by “forcing” it purchase U.S.-made weapons.
Naghdalyan reiterated earlier calls for an end to the arms race in the region, stressing that quelling the arms race had nothing to with Armenia’s capabilities.
“The arms race in the region is always on our agenda,” Naghdalyan said. “Acting Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan has also discussed this matter during the OSCE Ministerial Conference. For the record, what for some is a business, is a lethal tool for our people. This issue is being raised by the foreign ministry in multilateral arenas. However, this statement of ours shouldn’t be confused with a lack of Armenia’s capabilities, we can confidently state that the Armenian military has sufficient capabilities for defending the security of Artsakh and Armenia,” she said.