By Karine Kalantarian and Ruzanna Khachatrian
Official Yerevan deems it premature to comment on the latest Russian offer to share a radar station in Azerbaijan with the United States for missile defense until “Washington states its official position on the matter.”
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Karapetian said on Friday that official Yerevan “is closely following the developments.”
“It is yet early to make any comment at this point,” he told RFE/RL. “Let’s see how things develop.”
“Only the second party’s initiative will mean that certain actions will follow. We’d like to respond only to actions.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush at the G8 summit in Germany to share the use of the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan as an alternative to U.S. plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe.
Armenia’s foreign ministry thinks “both Russia and the United States will consider the current balance of forces in the region in making any such decision.”
Artur Aghabekian, the head of the defense committee at Armenian parliament, said “Gabala is a radar station that covers areas far beyond the region.”
“Its role in conducting military operations in our region is not significant and cannot have a great impact in tactical terms,” the ex-deputy defense minister told RFE/RL.
However, according to Aghabekian, in terms of strategy, it turns the region into an area of common interest, as “both the United States has its interest in instituting control over the Caspian region, and we [Armenia] have the common command point within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty.”
“In this sense, of course, we will all be interested in the format of this cooperation,” Aghabekian said. “This issue should be of interest to any country of the region, in particular to Armenia, because, after all, there is an unresolved conflict and military operations in the region.”