YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia released February 26 a statement regarding Armenia-Russia relations:
In recent days–Azerbaijani authorities and their media outlets have made unfounded statemen’s and numerous accusations relating to Armenian-Russian military cooperation–including the existence of a Russian military base in Armenia.
Azerbaijan once again is attempting to portray Armenia as the aggressor and the destabilizing force in the region. Their argumen’s are illogical and do not correspond with reality.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia must again reiterate that Armenia-Russia bilateral relations–including our military cooperation–is regulated by internationally recognized and accepted series of legal documen’s. The Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation represent co-equal parties to those agreemen’s with fully protected sovereign rights to choose to cooperate.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also wishes to stress that a nation’s right to choose the means of ensuring its security is fully recognized within the United Nations statutes and the OSCE norms and principles.
In this complex regional situation–Armenian-Russian military cooperation reflects Armenia’s well-founded security concerns–and is not directed at any third country. The Russian military base–its staff and armamen’s–fall within the provisions of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (Nov. 19–1990) which constitutes the cornerstone of European security–as well as the Tashkent agreement of May 15–1992 on the principles and the procedures for the implementation of the agreement on the Conventional Forces in Europe.
In this post cold war era–Armenia will continue to make use of all available opportunities to enhance its security. Based on the principle of complementarity–Armenia is actively participating in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program–is a member of the CIS Collective Security Agreement–is developing military cooperation agreemen’s with various countries and is fully engaged in multi-lateral arms control and disarmament initiatives.
We would also like to stress that–inclusive of the Russian military base–Armenia has adhered to and never exceeded the allowable levels of treaty limited equipment as assigned by the CFE Treaty. On the other hand–Azerbaijan is in violation of the terms of the Treaty and continues to aggressively import arms from various countries. All the while Azerbaijan has also carried out negotiations to manufacture offensive weaponry on its territory.
Further–by conducting this campaign of distortion on the purpose and nature of Armenian-Russian military cooperation–Azerbaijan expends all efforts and much energy to draw Turkey into the conflict–thus heightening tension–further polarizing the region and reviving the spirit of the cold war.
With its repeated breaches of the agreement on Conventional Forces in Europe–Azerbaijan threatens the relative peace which has taken hold in the region and blocks the realization of the basic purpose of this agreement–stability and mutual confidence between the parties in the region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to refrain from deconstructive and provocative actions which endanger the peace and stability of the region and obstruct the peaceful se(Continued on Page 10)ttlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.