YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia and Russia announced on Thursday an agreement to step up their already close cooperation in the areas of defense and security–reiterating their pursuit for common geopolitical goals in the region.
"Our countries have no common border–but we share common goals and objectives in terms of ensuring stability and peace in the Caucasus," secretary of Russia’s Security Council Vladimir Rushailo–said at the end of a three-day visit to Yerevan.
Rushailo and his Armenian counterpart Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian–held a joint news conference after signing a plan of cooperation between their security agencies for next year–saying only that it calls for increased contacts between security officials and other "numerous joint activities."
Military cooperation is a key component of the close Russian-Armenian relationship. Rushailo’s talks will be followed by a visit to Armenia by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov next week. The Itar-Tass news agency cited on Wednesday Russian military sources as saying that Ivanov will discuss–among other things–possible supplies of more "advanced Russian weaponry" to the Armenian armed forces.
The Russian security chief–who served as interior minister before being appointed to his current post–was received by President Robert Kocharian on Wednesday. Kocharian’s press service said the two men discussed regional security–particularly the Mountainous Karabagh conflict.
Rushailo assured reporters that his country wants to have a "positive influence" on Armenia–Azerbaijan and Georgia–and is interested in a Karabagh settlement–making it clear that Moscow will not pressure any of the conflicting parties into accepting a particular peace plan.