Agence France Presse -- English
September 22, 2004 Wednesday 11:44 AM GMT

Armenia prepared to send Iraq aid not troops: FM


Armenia will not send troops to Iraq but is prepared to take part in
the country's reconstruction, Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian said

"Armenia is not prepared to have a military presence in any foreign
country, but we have always said we would cooperate in the
reconstruction of Iraq," Oskanian told a press conference.

The south Caucasus republic could send doctors, drivers and engineers
to Iraq, he said.

Earlier this month Yerevan agreed with Poland to send 50
non-combatant troops to Iraq to work with the Polish military
contingent there.

Parliamentary approval is required for the accord to come into

Armenian political circles expressed disquiet at the commitment,
fearing that the ethnic Armenian diaspora in Iraq, numbering around
20,000 people, could be targeted by Iraqi insurgents.

Officials here said around 100 Armenian families in Iraq have sought
temporary asylum in Armenia following last month's wave of bomb
attacks on churches in Baghdad and Mosul, in northern Iraq.