18 June 2011, 23:00
Russian State Duma approves protocol on extension of Russian military base in Armenia
On June 17, the Russian State Duma ratified the protocol on extension of the 1995 bilateral agreement on the Russian military base deployed in the Armenian city of Gyumri.
The protocol was signed on August 20, 2010, during Russian President's visit to Armenia. Its initial term was 25 years; now the protocol extends it up to 49 years. The Armenian Parliament ratified the protocol on April 12, 2011.
According to Alexei Ostrovskiy, the head of the Russian Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, "the presence of Russian military base has become an integral part of Russia-Armenia cooperation in security issues of both countries and a safety element in the Caucasian region."
Mr Ostrovskiy has stressed that on March 19 this year the Parliament of Georgia stopped the agreement with Russia on transit of military cargos and personnel across Georgia's territory. The Russian Federation has additionally studied the alternative of supplying its Military Base No. 102 in Armenia via third countries, the RIA "Novosti" reports.
The protocol not only extends the term of the stay of Russian military bases, but it also defines the process of joint defence and ensuring Armenia's security. Besides, as the "A1+" TV Company reports, the protocol assumes that Russia should provide Armenia with modern arms, military and special equipment.