YEREVAN (combined sources)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian met with the Director of the Federal Borderguard Service of Russia Colonel-General Konstantin Totsky–who arrived here for a two-day visit on Wednesday March 14 to discuss problems of financing the Russian borderguards in Armenia.
Kocharian and Totsky discussed prospects for enlargement cooperation in joint guarding of Armenian borders. Kocharian said that Russian border guards fulfill their duties conscientiously. Totsky noted that Russian border guards feel good in Armenia–which–as he said–is the reflection of the population’s attitude toward them.
He said no serious incidents on the border had been reported last year–and added the number of Russian border guards will not be reduced and will remain unchangeable. Stressing the importance of regular contacts–Totsky evaluated highly the joint border guarding saying that both Armenian and Russian border guards work efficiently. The two men also spoke about the financing of operational activities of the border troops and regional issues. According to an earlier concluded intergovernmental agreement–the Operational Group of the Federal Borderguard Service of Russia is financed in equal proportion by the Russian and Armenian sides.
The group includes four borderguard detachmen’s deployed at Gyumri–Armavir–Artashat–Meghri and a separate control post at Zvartnots Airport in Yerevan. This operational group guards Armenia’s state border with Turkey and Iran.
Director of the Federal Border Service of Russia Lieutenant-General Konstantin Totsky and his party also met with Prime Minister Andranik Margarian on the same day.
During the meeting–Totsky reportedly presented the situation with border control to the Armenian premier. Both sides discussed the importance of ensuring Armenia’s security by joint efforts and the need to maintain friendship between the two countries.
Following the meeting–Armenia’s National Security Minister Karlos Petrossian and FBS Director Konstantin Totsky signed a protocol on the results of the meetings. Armenia’s Finance and Economy Minister Vardan Khachatrian and Konstantin Totsky signed the estimates of spending on the maintenance of the FBS operative group for 2001 and a protocol on approving these estimates.
The following day–March 15–Totsky visited one of the detachmen’s of the FBS operative group in Armenia. The colonel-general was accompanied by chief of the operative group Mikhail Naimilo–border troops commander major-general Levon Stepanian–head of the Ararat regional administration Alik Sargsian.
A year ago–when he visited this unit last–Totsky was dissatisfied with the conditions. Currently–the territory of the military unit has changed beyond recognition.
Totsky visited the Yeraskh post where he participated in the opening of new barracks built according to high standards. There–when asked how many such military units there are in Armenia–the officers accompanying the colonel-general–half joking–said it was the only one. Hinting that he understood why he was shown that very unit–Totsky observed: "I understand that the commanders of the detachment and the post wanted to show the work they’d done and that’s natural. The most important thing is that people are trying to create normal conditions for service and life."
As for the financial aspect–the FBS chief said that in the present situation there were two options: to increase the share of the Armenian side in conditions of joint financing or reduce troops group. The issue was discussed with Secretary of the Presidential National Security Council Serge Sargsian. The first variant was chosen. This year the Armenian side is to cover 57 percent of the expenses.
Totsky said that the technical means can be operated for another 4-5 years–after which there will emerge the task of technical re-equipment. Meanwhile–possibilities of purchasing and repairing equipment must be found.