MOSCOW (Itar-Tass)–A Russian-Armenian treaty on friendship–cooperation and mutual assistance and a similar treaty with Azerbaijan were ratified by the State Duma almost unanimously on Friday.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov and Chairman of the Duma Committee on the CIS Georgy Tikhonov–who presented the treaties to law-makers–urged them to ratify both documen’s bearing in mind that non-ratification could result in a greater instability in the Caucasus and–possibly–a new war. The need to ratify both treaties was also urged by the Armenian and Azeri ambassadors to Russia.
Russian relations with the two Transcaucasian countries cannot be described as fully identical and therefore the treaties differ slightly. The military aspect of the treaties differed for each country. The treaty with Armenia "expresses the will of the two peoples to be closer to each other," Boris Pastukhov said. "Armenia is closer to cooperation with Russia." A turn to broader cooperation of Russia and Azerbaijan has emerged only recently–Pastukhov and Tikhonov said.
The signing of the Russian-Armenian treaty "provoked a heated reaction in some countries–primarily in Azerbaijan," Pastukhov said. Some Azeri politicians viewed the treaty as a step toward forming a Russian-Armenian military union. Pastukhov explained that tensions has eased following further clarification of matters. The articles on military cooperation are well-considered–Pastukhov said. Bearing in mind possible objections and misunderstanding by Azerbaijan–Russia proposed to review the military part of the document in the Russian-Azeri document but Azerbaijan refused.
Furthermore–the Russian-Armenian friendship treaty voices the sides’ intention "to closely interact in the protection of sovereignty–territorial integrity and security of Russia and the Republic of Armenia…and jointly take all possible measures to prevent a threat to peace and counteract an aggression on the part of any country–expand the interaction of national armed forces and proceed from the principle of the use of military facilities."
The Russian-Azeri treaty denounces "all forms of separatism" and voices an obligation to abstain from support to any separatist movemen’s. The sides also succumb to an obligation "to abstain from any actions or military–economic and financial measures" aimed against the other side. Each of the sides "recognizes and respects the right of the other side to independently outline and carry out a set of measures aimed to protect sovereignty–territorial integrity–inviolability of borders and defense ability."