WASHINGTON (Armenpress)–The Armenian Embassy in Washington announced that Pentagon officials–foreign military attaches working in Washington–DC–and Armenian-American community leaders bid farewell to outgoing Armenian Defense Attach Haik Kotanjian and welcomed his replacement–Col. Armen Sargsian.
The US-Armenian military-political cooperation is becoming an important component of the complex relations between the two countries. In the foreign assistance budget for FY2002–US Congress allocated some $4.3 million in military-related assistance to Armenia. In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States–Armenia fully assisted the US-led international campaign against the terrorist network in Afghanistan–by granting overflight and refueling rights–as well as extending other assistance.
Welcoming the guests–including US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Eurasia Mira Baratta Ricardeo and other Pentagon officials–as well as military attaches of several countries–Armenian Ambassador to the US–Dr. Arman Kirakossian praised Col. Kotanjian for his role as the first military attach of Armenia in the United States. The Ambassador noted that direct military-to-military ties grew in intensity and a number of important visits took place during Col. Kotanjian’s tenure in Washington–DC: President Kocharian’s visit to the NATO Summit in 1999–then-Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsian’s visit to the US–including a visit to Pentagon–and the first-ever visit by Defense Minister Serge Sargsian to the United States in 2000.
Col. Kotanjian’s new assignment is in Armenian Ministry of Defense–as Counselor to the Minister. He will be involved in the preparation of the forthcoming visit of Minister Sargsian to the United States. It is expected that deepening the US-Armenian military cooperation will be on the agenda of the visit.
Ambassador Kirakossian then introduced the new military attach–Col. Armen Sargsyan–who has served in the Armenian Armed Forces since their establishment ten years ago. His most recent assignmen’s were Chief of Foreign Relations and Military Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Defense–and Armenia’s Defense Attach to the People’s Republic of China.