YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accompanied by his wife, Svetlana Medvedeva, arrived in Yerevan on Thursday on a state visit and were greeted at Zvartnots airport by President Serzh Sarkisian and his wife, Rita.
The first stop for Medvedev was Dzidzernagapert, where he laid a wreath at the monument to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. He also visited the adjacent Memory Part, where he watered a tree he planted during his 2008 visit. Medvedev was accompanied by Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.
Medvedev and Sarkisian are scheduled to meet Friday for a closed-door meeting, to be followed by talks with delegations representing the two countries.
Accompanying Medvedev to Armenia are Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov, Transport Minister Igor Levitin, Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia Vyacheslav Kovalenko and other officials.
The main objective of the visit is the signing of documents prolonging Russia’s military operations in Armenia.
Corresponding amendments to a 1995 treaty regulating the presence of a Russian military base in Armenia will extend Russia’s basing rights by 24 years, to 2044, and upgrade the mission of its troops stationed in Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri close to the border with Turkey. According to a relevant “protocol” submitted to Medvedev by the Russian government, besides “performing functions on defending the interests of the Russian Federation,” the Russian military base also “jointly with the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia ensures the security of the Republic of Armenia.” The document also commits Russia to supplying its regional ally with “modern and compatible weaponry and special military hardware,” reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The two leaders are also scheduled to visit Gyumri and preside over the inauguration of Hill of Honor, the resting place of Russian officers killed during Russia-Turkish wars of the 19th century.
Following the inauguration ceremony, the two leaders will travel to Lake Sevan for an informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization leaders.