YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An Armenian delegation led by Minister of Defense Vaharshak Haroutiunian participated in the regular meeting of the defense ministers of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council recently held at NATO Headquarters. Participating in the meeting were delegations from 45 countries.
The meeting participants welcomed Ireland’s admission to the EAPC. The discussions focused on the Kosovo crisis and–in this context–on cooperation within the EAPC. The meeting participants also addressed other problems as well as the current level of cooperation between NATO member-countries and prospects of this cooperation.
In his speech Haroutiunian analyzed the lessons that should be drawn from the Kosovo crisis–drawing parallels with the Karabakh conflict. He pointed out that peoples striving to free development are held captives by non-democratic regimes–undergo ethnic cleansing justified by the principle of territorial integrity.
Haroutiunian stressed that Armenia drew these lessons long before the Kosovo crisis. As a negative result of the Kosovo conflict he singled out the freezing of Russia-NATO relations–a testimony to which was the absence of the Russian representative from the meeting. Taking into consideration Russia’s exceptional role in the system of European security–such phenomena can have global consequences.
The Armenian defense minister made a positive assessment of Armenia-NATO relations.
Haroutiunian held meetings with NATO Secretary General Robertson and defense ministers from other countries.