NATO sees Armenia as a reliable partner – James Appathurai

NATO is grateful for Armenia’s contributions to operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, NATO’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai told a press conference in Yerevan.

He said the issue of increasing the number of troops participating in NATO-led missions will be on the agenda of the Armenian Defense Minister’s upcoming visit to Brussels.

“All NATO allies are concerned by the increasing level of armaments in the region also because it’s increasing the level of hostilities and political tension. Two of the members of the OSCE Minsk Group – France and US – are NATO allies. We can all see from the activities and statements of the Minsk Group like all NATO allies they are committed to a peaceful resolution. Overall, NATO’s position is to seek a reduction in tension, a reduction in hostilities and a peaceful resolution,” Appathurai said.

“We do follow very closely the security situation in the region, receive regular updates, and there is a higher level of concern among the allies with regard to the situation. As you know over the past year we have seen more military activity, higher level of military rhetoric, casualties and military exchanges,” he added.

“NATO is not directly engaged in the Karabakh issue. Our position is to support the OSCE Minsk Group. We would support any steps by the two countries or the Minsk Group that would help decrease tensions.

“We fully welcome the balanced foreign policy that Armenia has. It causes us no complication that Armenia is in the CSTO or the Eurasian Economic Union. From NATO point of view Armenia is and has been a reliable partner,” Mr. Appathuirai said, adding that he sees no drastic slips forward, because Armenia does not have such intensions, either.

“We’ll continue the static cooperation and the practical improvements where it makes sense for both parties,” he stated.

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