YEREVAN—A high-ranking NATO leader, who is on an official visit to Armenia, on Monday expressed the Western defense alliance’s support for the Karabakh conflict resolution process, saying that NATO is encouraged by recent diplomatic efforts toward that end.
NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to work together to advance the Karabakh conflict peace process.
“This is a case, where I think it’s very important for Armenia and Azerbaijan to be working together,” Gottemoeller said during a meeting with faculty and students of the Yerevan State University.
“I’m glad that the foreign ministers came together at the OSCE ministerial meeting in Vienna. The presidents also met recently in Vienna. I think that’s excellent,” she said.
“I’m delighted that the US is engaging on the highest level along with Russia and France. I hope to see new momentum in resolving that crisis, and I think it will be good for the entire region,” she added.
While in Yerevan, Gottemoeller met with President Serzh Sarkisian, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan to discuss further cooperation between NATO and Armenia, which is part of the alliance’s Partnership for Peace initiative.
“Armenia continues its important contribution to the collective efforts towards the establishment of international peace and stability undertaken by the UN and under UN auspices by transforming from a security consumer into a security provider,” Nalbandian told reporters during a joint press conference with Gottemoeller.
“25 years ago a foundation for the partnership relations between Armenia and North Atlantic Treaty Organization were laid. During that quarter century our collaboration has developed and enriched with new content,” Minister Nalbandian said.
“Armenia-NATO 5th Individual Partnership Action Plan is being successfully implemented. We emphasized the importance of the practical implementation of the activities of the NATO Trust Fund in Armenia,” he added.
“Our country itself, having serious security challenges, contributes to the preservation and strengthening of security and stability in other parts of the world,” the Minister noted.
Nalbandian said that he briefed Gottemoeller on the recent developments around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the joint efforts of Armenia and the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“In this context, we value NATO’s support to the efforts and approaches of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs,” Armenia’s top diplomat stated.
Gottemoeller hailed the participation of Armenian peacekeeping brigades in the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, attached importance to the development of new capacities, the joint efforts targeted at improving cooperation, collaboration in military education and other directions.
While meeting with Defense Minister Sargsyan, the sides exchanged views on the Armenia-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan, NATO’s support for defense reforms in Armenia.
The Defense Minister briefed Gottemoeller on amendments to defense legislation connected with the changes of the situation at the border, improvement of military service, modernization of military education, improvement of the system of civilian and public oversight over the armed forces.