YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia and Russia Thursday formally exchanged ratification by their parliamen’s of a comprehensive bilateral treaty–signed more than a year ago–calling it a "serious foundation" for their close relationship. A protocol to that effect was signed in Yerevan between Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasilii Sredin.
The treaty on "friendship–cooperation and mutual assistance" was signed in August 1997 in Moscow by President Boris Yeltsin and his then Armenian counterpart Levon Ter-Petrosyan.
"This treaty lays a serious foundation for relations between our countries," Sredin said–speaking at the signing ceremony. He said Moscow is "satisfied with the allied and friendly" ties with Yerevan.
The treaty covers all spheres of the Armenian-Russian cooperation–including a commitment to defend each other in case of a military aggression. The document also provides a legal framework for a continued presence of Russian troops in Armenia–an important element in Yerevan’s national security doctrine.