James Appathurai, NATO deputy assistant secretary general for political affairs and the secretary general’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, arrived in Armenia on Monday for an annual NATO Week event held this year on March 11-15.
While in Yerevan the NATO representative also held meetings with a number of senior Armenian officials, including President Armen Sarkissian.
At a meeting with Sarkissian in Yerevan, Appathurai described Armenia as a “stable and trustworthy partner.”
Appathurai and Sarkissian also underlined Armenia’s effective participation in a number of NATO-Armenia projects, including in international peacekeeping missions, the Armenian president’s press service said. Matters relating to regional and international developments were also discussed, it added.
While in Yerevan the NATO representative also met with Defense Minister David Tonoyan and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian.
During the meeting between Tonoyan and Appathurai a number of issues related to Armenia-NATO cooperation, in particular, the course of events planned for the Armenia-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) and Planning and Review Process partnership, their summary and assessment, as well as planning for the coming years were discussed.
According to the Armenian Defense Ministry’s official website, the sides stressed the importance of Armenia’s participation in NATO’s peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan as a major contribution to international security.
Issues related to regional security were also discussed at the meeting, the official report added.
Later, Armenian Foreign Minister Mnatsakanian and Appathurai discussed prospects of continued political dialogue between Armenia and NATO as part of the IPAP, the process of reforms in the defense and security areas, cooperation in emergency situations, science and a number of other areas of mutual interest.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s official website, Mnatsakanian and the NATO secretary general’s special representative exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues.
At the request of Appathurai, Minister Mnatsakanian presented “Armenia’s foreign-policy priorities, the approaches and principle-based position of the Armenian side in the matter of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
At a press conference later on Monday the NATO official said that during his meetings with Armenia’s defense minister and foreign minister they also addressed the recent sending by Armenia of a humanitarian mission to Syria, including sappers and medics.
Appathurai said both ministers clearly presented the political and humanitarian reasons for the Armenian government to take that step.