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Georgian Defense Minister Visits Armenia


Armenia - Defense Ministers Seyran Ohanian of Armenia and Tinatin Khidasheli of Georgia at a news conference in Yerevan, 1Feb2016.

Armenia - Defense Ministers Seyran Ohanian of Armenia and Tinatin Khidasheli of Georgia at a news conference in Yerevan, 1Feb2016.

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and his visiting Georgian counterpart Tinatin Khidasheli approved an annual plan of military cooperation between Armenia and Georgia when they met in Yerevan on Monday.

Ohanian said after the talks that joint activities planned by the Armenian and Georgian militaries for this year will focus on defense planning, training and education and international peacekeeping. Their cooperation in those areas has intensified since 2010.

“Our two countries are in different security systems but that does not prevent us from pursuing, even with different intentions, friendly and good-neighborly relations in order to maintain security in our region,” Ohanian told a joint news conference with Khidasheli.

He alluded to Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Georgia’s long-running efforts to join NATO.

Khidasheli stressed the importance of the joint plan that was not immediately made public. “We joked at the meeting that it’s a full agenda for a whole ministry,” she said. “I’m pretty sure that there will be much more to come as the opportunities are growing.”

The Georgian minister, who met with President Serzh Sarkisian later in the day, said her country is interested in deepening military cooperation with Armenia despite its “strategic partnership” with Azerbaijan and especially Turkey.

“Turkey is a NATO member neighbor and obviously it makes our cooperation even deeper and stronger than with any other country in the neighborhood,” she said, speaking in English. “Georgia is extremely grateful for the all the support that we are getting from Turkey every time, whether it’s a political level … or on the ground when Georgia needs this help and support,”

“Regardless of where we see ourselves in 5, 10, 20 years, there are things that are for granted, and Armenia and Georgia are going to live together, work together, and survive together,” added Khidasheli.

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