On Participation of the Armenian Army Detachment in NATO-Led War-game
The NATO conference in Yerevan on 16 February, 2002 with the participation of military delegation from 14 countries, including Turkey, does not belong to the secondary events in the politico-military life of the Republic of Armenia. Firstly in Armenia was convened a meeting for discussion some aspects of NATO-led military exercises to be carried out in Georgia in June, 2002.
One of the peculiarities of that meeting was the presence of the Turkish military delegation headed b the Lieutenant-Colonel Naim Babuoglu, despite the fact of lack of the diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey, as well as the blockade imposed by Turkey on Armenia since 1993.
Obviously it is the result of new changes in the world, including the Middle Easter-Transcaucasian geopolitical region, which took place after the terrorist attack on the US on 11 September, 2001. After that event both Turkey and Armenia had become members of the antiterrorist coalition, established and headed by the USA. We believe that just this event had made possible visit of a Turkish military delegation to Armenia. And who knows, may be this circumstance will work in favour of improvement of the Armenian-Turkish interstate relations. Let us do not forget that usually new times require new mentality and new, not standard decisions of the complicated problems.
During the Yerevan meeting had been discussed the possibility of participation of Armenia in the war-game organized by NATO in Georgia in upcoming June of this year. Major-General Mikkael Melkonian, head of the foreign relations department of the Ministry of Defence of Armenia, announced about the intention of his country to take part in that war-game. He said that "We plan to send at least a dozen soldiers and several officers", adding that the next NATO-led regional military exercises will take place in Armenia in the summer of 2003.
We think that there is nothing surprising in the determination of the Armenian military leadership to take part in those two measurements. It is the logical development of the existing Armenian-NATO relations and is in full compliance with the program and principles of "Partnership for Peace". As it well known Armenia participates in that program.
For a true evaluation of the Armenia's Defence Ministry intention we have to take into consideration the following circumstances.
Armenia is an independent and sovereign state and it is up to its leadership to decide about the expediency of cooperation with any country or organization, including NATO, taking into account the interests of her national security. From this point of view, we have to underline that the participation of a small Armenian military detachment in the war-game organized by NATO, is not in contradiction with the principles of national security of RA.
From the other hand we have to confirm that Armenia is not realizing the deepening of its military cooperation with NATO at the expense of its relations with its strategic partner-Russia. Simply it is a new level of cooperation between Armenia and NATO as a result of new political situation in the world, emerged after 11 September.
And let us remember that the interests of national security of any country in our difficult and complicated times require establishing and developing multi-track relations, and Armenia can not be exclusion.
So we would like to believe that these actions, undertaken by Armenia, will raise the prestige of Armenia in the eyes of NATO member countries, as well as will facilitate the increasing of significance of the Armenian military factor in the Middle Eastern- Transcaucasian geopolitical space.