The United States and other NATO member states stand ready to continue their assistance to an Armenian army unit contributing troops to the NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills said on Thursday.
Mills said NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller will make this clear when she arrives in Yerevan on Monday for talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian leaders. Gottemoeller will reaffirm the U.S.-led alliance’s readiness to provide Armenian peacekeepers with more “support, assistance and training they need to carry out their work,” he told reporters.
Over 120 Armenian soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan and 35 others in Kosovo at present, highlighting Armenia’s increase cooperation with NATO.
“We greatly appreciate Armenia’s participation in international peacekeeping operations and NATO-led and other multinational exercises,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a September letter to his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian.
Mills likewise said that Armenians should be “very proud” of their soldiers serving in Afghanistan. He said they are helping NATO forces boost peace and security in the war-torn country and prevent it from becoming a “safe haven for terrorists.”
The soldiers serving there are part of the Armenian army’s peacekeeping brigade that has received considerable assistance from the U.S. and other NATO militaries. As recently as on October 31, senior Armenian and U.S. military officials inaugurated the brigade’s newly renovated training center near Yerevan.
Armenia has pledged to join more multinational peacekeeping missions abroad with specialized medical and demining units in the near future. They will undergo U.S. training before such deployment.
In October 2016, Mills and Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian 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.
Mills said in July this year that Armenia’s military and political alliance with Russia does not prevent it from forging closer security ties with the U.S.