BAKU (RFE/RL)—Moscow and Yerevan are planning to sign an agreement that will bar third countries from deploying military personnel in Armenia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
“We are completing with Armenia the drafting of a document which will guarantee the absence of foreign military personnel there [in Armenia,]” Lavrov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station. “It will guarantee transparency in terms of threats and risks.”
He said that a similar deal is also planned with Kazakhstan, another member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization.
Lavrov made the statement in response to a question about biological research laboratories which have been donated by the United States to Armenia, Georgia and other ex-Soviet states.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed in October that Washington seems to be running a clandestine biological weapons lab in Georgia. It said the lab poses a security threat to Russia.
It was reported around that time that Yerevan has allowed Russian officials to inspect similar U.S.-funded facilities in Armenia. The Russians voiced no concerns after those inspections.
Armenia hosts an estimated 4,000 Russian troops as part of its close military ties with Russia. The current Armenian government, which took office in May, has pledged to maintain that alliance. But it has so far has announced no plans to sign the kind of a deal with Moscow that was cited by Lavrov.