No controversy between Armenia’s membership in CSTO and cooperation with NATO

Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan sees no controversy between Armenia’s membership in the CSTO and its strategic partnership with Russia and the development of cooperation with NATO.

“Armenia and Russia are strategic partners, co-founders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Armenia has always played an important role in the CSTO. We have backed all integration processes within the framework of the organization –establishment of peacekeeping and rapid response forces, etc,” Vigen Sargsyan said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

“We believe the CSTO has a huge potential. For us it is reflected in agreements, which allow CSTO member states to purchase armaments, military equipment at internal consumption prices, use each other’s opportunities in the field of military education. This is truly a huge privilege,” Minister Sargsyan noted.

He added, however, that “over the past years Armenia has been guided by ‘both/and’ rather than ‘either/or’ principle, and has succeeded in both military and economic domains.”

“Armenia interacts with NATO under the Cooperation for Peace Program and has an Individual Partnership Plan (IPAP) with NATO. Our peacekeepers are carrying out mission in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and are present in Lebanon within the framework of a UN-led peacekeeping mission,” the Minister said.

He noted that “Armenia has grown from consumer of peace into a contributor of it, and it’s a huge achievement.”

“We also have a close cooperation with our strategic partner Russia. In cooperation with Russia, Armenia has sent several batches of humanitarian aid to Syria,” he said.

“We have managed to equally develop effective cooperation with both our strategic partner Russia and other countries, rather than take sides in the existing controversies,” Vigen Sargsyan stated.

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