YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia’s parliament voted on December 5 to prolong the presence of a small peace-keeping platoon in Iraq for another 12 months. The 46-member Armenian platoon composed of sappers–truck drivers–and doctors–was sent to Iraq on January 18–2005–and is under the command of the Polish contingent.
Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian justified the move yesterday–saying that despite initial apprehension in Armenia to send the troops home twelve months ago–their presence there has neither jeopardized the well-being of Iraq’s Armenian community–nor Armenia’s relations with the Arab world.
"It is obvious that Armenia that has chosen the path of integration–and could not remain isolated from international developmen’s," he said–pointing out that Armenia’s neighbor’s Georgia and Azerbaijan have contingents in Iraq," he said.
Sarkisian also argued that the presence of Armenian servicemen in Iraq has helped to promote the image of armed forces.