(RFE/RL, AP) - Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian met on Tuesday for the first time in five years.
Ter-Petrosian’s armored limousine was seen entering an Armenian government villa in Yerevan where Yeltsin is staying with his wife Naina. No details of the meeting were known.
Some Ter-Petrosian associates claimed on Monday that the current Armenian president, Robert Kocharian, was against the meeting and even tried to prevent it from taking place. Officials in Kocharian’s administration could not be reached for comment.
The meeting went ahead after Yeltsin was made an honorary border guard during a visit to a Russian unit on Armenia's border with Turkey earlier on Tuesday. The troops at the Artashat unit, stationed about a kilometer (half a mile) from Turkey, gave Yeltsin an officer's cap and a stripe marking the unit's 45th anniversary.
"I'm glad that everything is all right on Armenia's borders with Turkey and Iran, which are protected by our Russian border guards. Well done!" Yeltsin told the troops.
Armenia's borders with Turkey and Iran, which total 468 kilometers (290 miles), are guarded by Russia's Federal Border Service in accordance with a treaty between Russia and the small, cash-strapped former Soviet republic.
Yeltsin arrived Saturday in Armenia at the invitation of President Robert Kocharian. Among the sights he visited was a museum dedicated to the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. In an entry left in the museum's guest book, Yeltsin urged Turkey to "repent" for the killings, which Russia and many other countries have officially recognized as genocide.