By Armen Zakarian
Armenia is close to agreeing with NATO a plan of actions which will upgrade its participation in the alliance’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, a senior Armenian diplomat said on Friday.
“We continue to work on the Individual Partnership Action Plan, or IPAP, which we hope will be finalized and endorsed by NATO soon,” Samvel Mkrtchian, Yerevan’s permanent representative at the NATO headquarters, told RFE/RL from Brussels.
“It will allow us move our cooperation with NATO further forward within the framework of that program,” he said.
According to Mkrtchian, the action plan will be based on proposals made by the Armenian government. Those have still not been made public.
Neighboring Azerbaijan and Georgia have already developed individual partnerships with NATO. Armenia’s decision to follow suit was welcomed by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer during his visit to Yerevan last November.
“We want to have a more active participation in a number of NATO programs,” President Robert Kocharian told de Hoop Scheffer at the time.
That intention was underscored by Kocharian’s decision last September to name a senior diplomat exclusively tasked with representing the country at the alliance headquarters in Brussels. The job given to Mkrtchian was previously done by Armenia’s ambassadors to Belgium.