ARMENIAN PRESIDENT SAYS RUSSIAN BASE REMAINS SECURITY ELEMENT

Armenpress
Sept 27, 2005

YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 27, ARMENPRESS: Speaking to a news conference
after talks with the visiting president of Finland Tarja Halonen,
Armenian president Robert Kocharian said Russian military bases
in Armenia were not imposed on it, but established in line with an
Armenian-Russian agreement.

He said also the Russian base is in line with Armenia's national
interests.

Kocharian said Armenia is located in a complicated region where
relations between countries are not finally regulated yet. He said
Russian bases in Armenia are looked on as an element of its national
security. "There is no need to expand these bases, but what is there
is regulated by the intergovernmental agreement,' he said. The press
conference was preceded by face-to-face talks between Kocharian
and Halonen, who according to Kocharian's press office, discussed
bilateral relations, Armenia-EU cooperation, regional problems and
exchanged views on a set of key international issues.

Mrs. Halonen welcomed Armenia's inclusion in the European Neighborhood
Policy (ENP), saying Finland was going to attach greater attention
to its relations with South Caucasian nations. President Kocharian
in turn said involvement of influential international organizations
in the process of regulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would
have a positive impact, especially in providing political and economic
support to the sides after they reached a peace deal.

Kocharian said there were moments when the conflicting sides were
very close to hammering out the deal, but some circumstances have
slowed down the process. He said talks are very intensive now and
there is hope for reaching a mutually acceptable peace formula.

Mrs. Halonen said after learning the latest developments in the process
he encouraged Kocharian to continue active efforts for reaching final
peace with Azerbaijan.