Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian praised Armenia’s growing military cooperation with the United States when he met with senior U.S. officials in Yerevan on Thursday.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said Ohanian received the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, and Washington’s newly appointed military attaché in Yerevan, Colonel Bruce Murphy.
A ministry statement said Ohanian “highly assessed the level of U.S.-Armenian relations in the area of defense.” He expressed confidence that Murphy will contribute to a “further development” of bilateral military ties, it said.
The statement added that the two sides discussed “a number of issues of mutual interest” relating to defense and security. It gave no details.
Despite its close military ties with Russia, Armenia has stepped up defense cooperation with NATO and the United States in particular over the past decade. It has contributed troops to NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan and increasingly participated in multinational exercises organized by the U.S. military in Europe.
As recently as last month, 25 Armenian army sergeants flew to the U.S. state of Kansas to undergo further training as part of U.S. efforts to help Armenia increase the number of its non-commissioned officers serving on a contractual basis.
The Armenian military has been recruiting more contract sergeants as part of defense reforms supported by NATO. The U.S. has been particularly active in helping it train non-commissioned officers in line with Western military standards.
In July, other U.S. military instructors began the first training course in Armenia for Armenian army sappers who are due to participate in multinational peacekeeping operations in the near future. They were specifically trained to detect and defuse improvised explosive devices (IEDs).