NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller praised Armenia’s increased cooperation with the U.S.-led alliance and said it will deepen further when she visited Yerevan on Monday.
Gottemoeller met with President Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian leaders for talks that touched upon Armenia-NATO ties and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“We spoke about current security challenges and how we can take our cooperation farther,” she said after the talks with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian which preceded her meeting with Sarkisian.
“NATO and Armenia have developed partnership over 25 years,” she said. “Cooperation between NATO and Armenia is in both of our interests.”
“Earlier this year, Armenia agreed to a new Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO, and we will be working together more closely on interoperability, defense education and defense reform,” added Gottemoeller.
The first Armenia-NATO IPAP was launched in 2006. The current, fifth such plan approved by NATO in April lists joint activities planned for 2017-2019.
In addition to this policy framework, Armenia has stepped up its involvement in NATO-led security missions. It currently has 121 Armenian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and 35 others in Kosovo. A senior Armenian Defense Ministry official said last week that Yerevan will continue to participate in these multinational missions in the years to come.
“We are grateful for Armenia’s important contribution to our Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and our KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo,” Gottemoeller told reporters.
Sarkisian likewise noted with satisfaction the “developing” Armenia-NATO ties when he met with the senior NATO official. He also thanked the alliance for its “assistance provided to Armenia.”
The two also discussed recent developments in the Karabakh peace process.
Meeting with students and professors of Yerevan State University earlier in the day, Gottemoeller welcomed progress reportedly made at high-level Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations held in October and November. NATO hopes for further progress in the peace process, she said, adding that a Karabakh settlement would have a very positive impact on the region.