Russian DM says Armenia remains Moscow’s key ally in the region
WASHINGTON–DC (Combined Sources)–Russian defense minister Sergey Ivanov affirmed that Armenia remains Russia’s key ally in the South Caucasus.
Ivanov–who is in Washington–DC meeting with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld–said during a news conference–"Armenia is home to a big Russian military base and we have very close economic and cultural ties with Armenia," adding that Russia and Armenia are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Concerning Russia’s relations with Armenia in the context of Kremlin’s growing ties with Turkey–Ivanov said Armenia is a sovereign state and decides its foreign policy priorities independently.
In Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s 2004 Armenian foreign policy report–meanwhile–the development and strengthening of relations with the Russian Federation remained a priority as well.
The document noted that Russia and Armenia continued to develop and expand bilateral cooperation in all areas including military-technical–economic–and humanitarian efforts–as well as within the framework of the Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) and CSTO.
It also highlights official visits by state representatives from both countries–including President Robert Kocharian’s trip to Russia–and the Russian State Duma and Federation Council chairmen Sergei Mironov and Boris Gryzlov’s visit to Armenia.
The foreign policy report also states that issues of military-technical cooperation between the two countries were discussed during Ivanov’s visit to Armenia–as well as during the first meeting of the Russian-Armenian intergovernmental committee on military-technical cooperation held in September 2004.
In an effort to expand economic cooperation between the two countries–the Armenian-Russian Business Association was created–and currently has 100 members.
A railroad ferry between the ports of Poti (Georgia) and Kavkaz (Russia) will play an important role in the increase of trade turnover between Armenia and Russia. The implementation of this project will significantly decrease the cost of transportation.