Defense Minister Says Russia will Ensure Armenia’s SecurityAug 27th, 2010 | Category: Lead Article
By Eva Sahakyan
YEREVAN, August 27–According to the Protocol on the extension of the tenure of the Russian military base in Armenia, Russia will by any means ensure the security of the Republic of Armenia, the Armenian Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanian said during an exclusive interview with Radio Liberty.
The Protocol on the extension of the tenure of the Russian military base in Armenia was signed by the Armenian and Russian Ministers of Defense Seyran Ohanian and Anatoliy Serdyukov on August 20 in Yerevan.
According to the document signed in 1995, the Russian military base was to be in Armenia for 25 years, but this term was extended to 49 years. In addition to protecting the interests of the Russian Federation, the military base together with the Armenian army should also ensure the security of the Republic of Armenia.
According to the minister, current formulations in the document depend on the strategic character of military and financial-economic planning, on long-term investment policy in the military sphere and on the continuous character of Armenian Russian joint planning on ensuring the security in the Republic of Armenia and in the region.
Seyran Ohanian also spoke about the possibility of renewal of military operations on the Armenian and Azerbaijani line of contact. He said that Armenia has never eliminated the possibility of renewal of military operations and that is why the Armenian army is always on full alert. The Minister mentioned that the Republic of Armenia is guarantor of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) security and the Artsakh people.
“At the same time I should say that if the threats against Artsakh turn into imminent threats against Armenia, I have no doubts that the Russian Federation will fulfill its allied and contractual obligations,” Ohanian said.
The sale of the S-300 anti-aircraft rocket system to Azerbaijan was also among the key issues during the interview. A few days ago the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov in his interview with Public Television of Armenia did not deny this information. However, official Moscow has neither confirmed nor denied it yet.
According to Ohanian it does not pose any threats to Armenia but it affects the balance of forces in the region.
“The purchase of S-300 anti-rocket systems can have no direct influence on the correlation of forces between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Their use against the Armenian Army will be ineffective for the simple reason that we are more familiar with this system, we have used it for quite a long time and we know how to reduce the effectiveness of such systems,” Ohanian said.
The minister also added that in case the Russian-Azerbaijani deal is concluded, it will influence Armenian Russian relations.
“As far as we are strategic partners and members of the same military-political system, our cooperation is rather tight and both sides are ready to give mutual assistance in the implementation of any tasks concerning security,” he said.
Photo credit: Photolur