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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05YEREVAN1058 2005-06-17 02:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Yerevan
Cable title:  

RUSSIAN ARMS TRANSFER FROM GEORGIA TO ARMENIA

Tags:   PARM PGOV PREL PBTS AM GG RU 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L YEREVAN 001058 

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/CACEN, RPM ABAEZ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2015
TAGS: PARM PGOV PREL PBTS AM GG RU
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN ARMS TRANSFER FROM GEORGIA TO ARMENIA
UNDERWAY

REF: A) YEREVAN 1020 B) BAKU 855

Classified By: Amb. John M. Evans for reasons 1.4 (b,d).

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SUMMARY
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1. (C) Armenian officials have confirmed news reports that
the transfer of materiel from Russian military bases in
Georgia to a Russian military base in Armenia is already
underway. According to Russian DCM Igor Gromyko, the
transfer will not violate the conditions of the Conventional
Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Adding Russian materiel to
already existing stockpiles does not appear to threaten to
shift the region's current military balance of power. On
June 2, President Kocharian told Senator Hagel that
permitting this transfer of Russian equipment was "Armenia's
contribution to resolving" the impasse in Georgia. End
Summary.



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REPORTS OF TRANSFERS ALREADY UNDERWAY


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2. (C) Russian DCM Igor Gromyko told us that Russian and
Georgian negotiators had "agreed" to a January 1, 2008,
withdrawal deadline from Georgia. Armenian news sources
reported that a cargo train from the Russian base in Batumi
had already arrived at the Russian base in Gyumri, loaded
with military materiel. Armenian Defense Minister Serzh
Sargsian told visiting Senator Hagel (ref A) that Armenian
customs officials had cleared the train at the border, but he
had no information on the specifics of the cargo.
Unconfirmed news reports asserted the cargo ranged from
excess ammunition to long-range missiles to other "military
hardware."



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DO ADDITIONAL RUSSIAN ARMS REALLY CHANGE ANYTHING?


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3. (C) According to Gromyko, "weaponry" transferred to Gyumri
will remain on the Russian base in Gyumri under exclusive
Russian control. Gromyko dismissed GOAJ protests (ref B)
against the base transfers, saying complainers "are few, but
they bark with loud voices." Azerbaijan should understand,
he continued, that "everything is going to remain under
Russian control," and in clear compliance with the
Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Azerbaijan
should not try to associate the transfer of weapons to
anything related to Nagorno-Karabakh, he insisted.



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RUSSIAN MILITARY PRESENCE IN ARMENIA


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4. (C) Russia currently has an estimated five-thousand troops
in Armenia, including approximately two-thousand five-hundred
border guards, mostly stationed along the Armenia-Turkey
border. Russia maintains one military base in Gyumri,
Armenia, with subunits in Yerevan. Russia also shares
facilities and hangars planes at an Armenian base near
Erebuni.



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COMMENT: STATUS QUO NOT SET TO CHANGE


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5. (C) During his meeting with President Kocharian, Senator
Hagel inquired about the issue of transferring Russian
materiel to Armenian bases. Kocharian confirmed that he had
discussed the issue several times with President Putin and
agreed to permit the transfer of part of the equipment as
Armenia's "contribution to the solution" of a thorny problem.
Kocharian said it was "not a major issue" and did not
understand Azerbaijan's reaction.



6. (C) The GOAM and Gromyko independently assert that the
transfer of additional Russian armaments to already-exisiting
Russian military facilities in Armenia does not change the
regional balance of power. We have no reason to doubt that
the materiel will remain under Russian control. Provided
this remains the case and CFE limits are not exceeded, we see
no measurable impact on the current regional status quo.
EVANS