ArmenPress
Jan 6 2005

ARMENIAN CONTINGENT READY TO DEPLOY IN IRAQ

YEREVAN, JANUARY 6, ARMENPRESS: A spokesman for Armenian defense
ministry told Armenpress that a 46 non-combat platoon is ready to be
deployed in Iraq. The spokesman, Seyran Shahsuvarian, said the
platoon is composed of 30 truck drivers, 10 sappers, three doctors
and three officers.
Armenia's parliament voted to send 46 non-combat troops to Iraq on
December 24, a move that drew sharp criticism from many Armenians and
opposition groups.
The troops could serve in Iraq for up to a year and would only
conduct humanitarian operations. "There is not, and will not be an
Armenian military presence in Iraq,' Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian
had said earlier. "In the humanitarian aspect, it is preferable for
Armenia to contribute to the postwar reconstruction of Iraq, in
establishing democracy in this country which has important
significance for the region and which could have an impact on the
Caucasus.'
The troops would serve as part of the Polish-led multinational
force that operates in a belt of territory south of Baghdad.
The proposal had been widely criticized by opposition parties,
many Armenians and even the 30,000-strong Armenian community in Iraq,
which fears being targeted for attacks if the troops were sent.