By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The United States has asked Armenia to make its airspace available for the anticipated US military action against suspected terrorist targets in Central Asia and has been given a positive answer, a spokeswoman for President Robert Kocharian told RFE/RL on Wednesday. But the official, Hasmik Petrosian, refused to give any details.
Her statement contrasted with remarks made earlier in the day by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian who claimed that Yerevan so far has not received official requests from Washington to assist in the anti-terror efforts underway in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Speaking during a question-and-answer session in the parliament, Markarian said if the government does receive such a request it will inform lawmakers about it.
Sarkisian, who spoke to RFE/RL after the parliament session, repeated the prime minister’s words. He added that Armenia is maintaining close contacts with the US "on the ambassadorial and other levels” and that the two states are now “cooperating in this matter.”
Asked if Armenia would permit military overflights from bases in Turkey towards Afghanistan, he replied: "Our airspace is open and I don't see a problem for aircraft that do not pose a threat to Armenia".
The defense minister was also asked if the CIS Collective Security Council is scheduled to meet soon to discuss the planned American strikes but added that regular consultations between its six signatory states do take place at the moment. Armenia currently holds the rotating presidency of the council.