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Cablegate: President Signs On to Armenian-Polish Joint

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS YEREVAN 002018

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CACEN, DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS PREL IZ AM
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT SIGNS ON TO ARMENIAN-POLISH JOINT
PARTICIPATION IN IRAQ--BUT AT WHAT DOMESTIC COST?


(U) Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

--------------------------------------------- -
ARMENIAN-POLISH SECURITY COOPERATION AGREEMENT
--------------------------------------------- -

1. (SBU) On September 6, Armenian President Robert
Kocharian signed a security cooperation agreement with
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski which will lay
the groundwork for the deployment to Iraq of 50
Armenian non-combat troops with Polish forces. George
Kocharian, Head of the Military-Political Cooperation
Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed
that the GOAM intends to deploy mostly transport
personnel, trucks, a few de-miners, and three doctors.
He noted that the GOAM wanted to act in unity with
Europe and shoulder an adequate amount of the burden so
that Armenia would truly be part of the European
"club." A newspaper associated with the defense
ministry reasoned that deployment to Iraq would
significantly improve U.S./Armenian relations and
offset the "advantage" Azerbaijan currently enjoys in a
more favorable relationship with the U.S.

-----------------------------
OPPOSITION JUMPS ON THE ISSUE
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) Several Armenian opposition newspapers raised
concerns that deployment to Iraq could harm Armenia's
relationship with Russia, and the (frequently less-than-
reliable) opposition newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak used
the opportunity to take aim at Minister of Defense,
Serzh Sargsian. In an uncharacteristically pro-Russian
stance, the paper repeated Russian newspaper
accusations that Sargsian had "betrayed" Russia, and
the quoted a disaffected general who disagreed with
deployment, supposedly speaks with the authority of the
Russian military general staff, but who has more
authority than his "illegitimate supreme commander."
The opposition, which has often hailed the Council of
Europe and Western-supported NGOs during human rights'
disputes, now seems ready to exploit pro-Russian biases
in order to embarrass the Kocharian government.
EVANS

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