The Armenian military officially launched on Friday a U.S.-funded renovation of the main training center of its special brigade that contributes troops to multinational peacekeeping missions abroad.
Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills and high-ranking officers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inaugurated the start of reconstruction work with a special ceremony held at the Zar Military Training Facility.
“Thanks to the assistance of our American partners, the training center of the Armenian peacekeeping forces will be completely renovated and will get a new look in the coming months,” Sargsian said at the ceremony.” “This is yet another manifestation of active and productive U.S.-Armenian cooperation in the area of defense.”
Sargsian thanked the U.S. government and military for the assistance. A statement on the event released by the Armenian Defense Ministry did not report the amount of U.S. funding. It said that the Armenian side will also finance the renovation.
The Armenian army’s Peacekeeping Brigade has received considerable financial and technical assistance from the U.S. and other NATO member states ever since it was set up in the early 2000s. NATO assigned a higher degree of combat readiness and interoperability to the brigade after monitoring a four-day exercise held by it at the Zar facility in 2015.
More than 130 soldiers of the brigade are currently deployed in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Armenia plans to join more peacekeeping missions abroad with specialized medical and demining units. They will undergo NATO training before their deployment.
In October 2016, Sargsian and Mills inaugurated a new paramedic school of the Armenian armed forces. U.S. military instructors trained the first group of Armenian teaching personnel for the school in August 2015.
The Defense Ministry statement quoted Mills as saying on Friday that defense cooperation is now “one of the key cornerstones” of U.S.-Armenian relations.