YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia and Russia plan to work out a new agreement that will deepen the already close ties between their militaries and defense industries, top security officials from the two countries said in Yerevan on Thursday.
Armenian and Russian news agency reported that Artur Baghdasarian, secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council, and his visiting Russian counterpart, Nikolay Patrushev, signed a relevant memorandum of understanding after two days of negotiations.
“The protocol envisages concrete positions, including on deepening cooperation in the military-technical field and establishing joint defense ventures in Armenia,” Baghdasarian was reported to tell a news conference.
He said the two sides agreed to form a joint working group that will draw up the new Russian-Armenian defense accord. Neither Baghdasarian nor Patrushev gave further details of the planned deal.
“During the meetings we talked about our military and military-technical cooperation,” Patrushev told President Serzh Sarkisian later in the day. He was quoted by Sarkisian’s press office as calling the talks “productive and useful.”
“I am glad that the Russian-Armenian allied relationship is dynamically developing,” Sarkisian said for his part.
Moscow and Yerevan signed a far-reaching defense agreement as recently as in August 2010. The deal extended the presence of a Russian military base in Armenia by 24 years, until 2044. It also committed the Russians to helping the Armenian military obtain “modern and compatible weaponry and (special) military hardware.”
The military alliance with Russia has long enabled Armenia to received Russian military equipment at discount prices or even free of charge. Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian spoke on Wednesday of new “long-range and precise weapons” delivered to his troops last year. But he did not elaborate.
Incidentally, Ohanian was also present at Patrushev’s meeting with the Armenian president.
Patrushev, who previously headed Russia’s powerful Federal Security Service (FSB), visited on Wednesday the Yerevan headquarters of Russian border troops guarding Armenia’s frontier with Iran and Turkey.
Baghdasarian said on Thursday that the two sides also agreed to bolster security at the Armenian-Iranian border.