YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A three-day international seminar on the prevention and management of natural disasters–co-sponsored by NATO and Armenia–began its work in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor on Tuesday. Representatives of 12 countries–including the United States and Germany–opened discussions on ways of mutual assistance in the event of emergency situations threatening civilian populations. The seminar will focus on the possibility of joint rescue operations and coordination of medical and humanitarian assistance to victims of future calamities. It is being held within the framework of the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.
Armenian officials attending the gathering said Yerevan looks forward to a more active involvement in PfP. "The Partnership for Peace program plays an important role in the development of strong relations between NATO and its partner states," said Vyacheslav Harutiunian–head of the government’s Department of Emergency Situations.
"This seminar is another step aimed at boosting our ties with the Alliance," said Artashes Aznaurian–the Armenian representative to the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Armenia’s continued participation in PfP activities will be high on the agenda of NATO Secretary-General George Robertson’s visit to Yerevan later this month.