Russia Refutes Reports of Second Military Base in Armenia

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 27 September 2007 16:42 (UTC +04:00)
Russia Refutes Reports of Second Military Base in   Armenia

Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend S.Agayeva / Moscow refuted reports on the establishment of a second Russian military base in the territory of Armenia. Vasiliy Istratov, the Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Trend on 17 September that these reports are not true.

Officials of the Russian Defense Ministry are on visit to Armenia. According to media reports, they are holding meetings with officials of the Defense Ministry and the Azerbaijan Government to discuss the establishment of a second Russian military base in Armenia.

Russia currently has military base division 102 located in Armenia.

"Russia does not have plans to establish a second military base in Armenia," the Ambassador stressed.

At the insistence of the Azerbaijani authorities, Soviet military bases were liquidated even at the beginning of 1990s. The Russian military forces will finally leave Georgia in 2008.

Azerbaijan seriously responded to reports on the establishment of a new Russian military in Armenia.

"The establishment of a second Russian military base in Armenia will become the next factor testifying Moscow's support for our enemy country," Ziyafat Asgarov, the Azerbaijani First Vice Premier and the Chairman of the permanent parliamentary commission on defense and security of the Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani Parliament), said in talks with journalists on 27 September.

It throws a shadow on the objectivity and neutrality of Russia's mediation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The establishment of Russia's second military base will complicate the critical situation in the region," Ilgar Verdiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, told Trend earlier.

Uzeyir Jafarov, a military expert and a retired Lieutenant Colonel, said that the establishment of the second military base in Armenia will cause protest by other countries in the region.

Russia regards the expansion and strengthening of the military base in Gumri as its major task. The military expert regards the establishment of the Russian base in Armenia to be dangerous.

"Actions by Russia will raise tensions in the region and considering the unresolved state of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, one might predict the seriousness of this tension," Jafarov added.

" Azerbaijan should raise the issue at the OSCE. Russia, as member of the OSCE Minsk Group undertook a responsibility to help resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said.

Armenia has occupied 20% of Azerbaijani land, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Since 1992, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended.