U.S. and Armenian officials will meet later this year to discuss ways of continuing military cooperation between their countries, the Armenian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
A statement released by the ministry said Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian and the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, reached an agreement on the holding of “U.S.-Armenian defense consultations in Yerevan in the course of 2018.” It said the consultations will be aimed at working out a “common vision for further cooperation” between the U.S. and Armenian militaries.
That cooperation has deepened over the past decade despite Armenia’s military alliance with Russia. Armenia currently contributesmore than 120 troops to NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan and regularly participates in multinational exercises organized by U.S. forces in Europe.
U.S. instructors have trained hundreds of Armenian soldiers mostly serving in a special peacekeeping brigade. The United States also helped to renovate the brigade’s training center near Yerevan. It was inaugurated by Sargsian and a U.S. army general in October 2017.
Armenia plans to join more 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, Sargsian and Mills inaugurated a new paramedic school of the Armenian armed forces. U.S. instructors trained the first group of Armenian teaching personnel for the school in August 2015.
According to the Defense Ministry statement, Sargsian briefed Mills on a seven-year plan to “modernize” the Armenian army which is expected to be adopted by his government later this month. The minister said Yerevan will seek to “develop cooperation with the U.S.” as part of that plan.
The statement gave no other details of the meeting.