NATO’s relations with Armenia
NATO and Armenia cooperate on democratic, institutional, and defence reforms, in addition to working together in many other areas, including peace support operations. The Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) lays out the programme of cooperation between Armenia and NATO and sets out a wide-ranging roadmap for reforms.
While Armenia intends to intensify practical and political cooperation with NATO in order to draw closer to the Alliance, it does not seek membership in NATO.
Beyond the focus on reform, another important area of cooperation is the country’s support for NATO-led operations. Armenian troops are currently deployed as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, as well as KFOR.
Armenia sets out its reform plans and timelines in its Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is jointly agreed for a two-year period. The most recent NATO-Armenia IPAP was agreed in November 2011. Armenia’s IPAP is geared towards both strengthening political dialogue between NATO and Armenia as well as supporting Armenia’s democratic and defence reforms.
The wide-ranging nature of the IPAP means that Armenia is not only cooperating with NATO in the defence sphere, but is in regular consultation with the Allies on political & security issues, including relations with neighbours, democratic standards, rule of law, counter-terrorism and the fight against corruption. As part of the IPAP, NATO agrees to support Armenia in achieving its reform goals by providing focused advice and assistance. Armenia also makes important contributions to NATO-led operations.
Armenia also cooperates with NATO and other Partner countries in a wide range of other areas through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Armenia tailors its participation in the PfP programme through an annual Individual Partnership Cooperation Programme, selecting those activities that will help achieve the goals it has set in the IPAP.
Since joining the PfP in 1994, Armenia has contributed to Euro-Atlantic security alongside NATO Allies. Since 2004, Armenia has been contributing troops to the Kosovo Force (KFOR). Currently, it contributes one infantry platoon of 35 personnel to KFOR. Since 2009, Armenia has also been contributing forces to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Currently it provides three platoons to ISAF. With the deployment of 80 additional personnel in mid-June 2011, Armenia increased its contribution to ISAF from 40 to 120. An additional five infantry trainers deployed to Afghanistan in July 2011.
Armenia is cooperating with NATO and individual Allies on facilitating the interoperability of the Armenian Peacekeeping Battalion to become a brigade with associated combat support and combat service support units by 2015 with those of NATO countries. Experts in military education and training from NATO and Partners nations, coordinated by NATO staff, work with Armenian military officials to review Armenia’s progress on the Military Education Concept. This concept will provide guidance for the development of revised junior and senior officer staff courses.
The PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) is a core element of Armenia’s cooperation with NATO, which is helping to develop the ability of its forces to work with NATO forces on operations. One NATO nation in coordination with NATO staff is also supporting the introduction of civilian personnel to the Armenian Ministry of Defence. Armenia participates in PARP process since 2002.
Armenia contributes to the fight against terrorism through its participation in the Partnership Action Plan on Terrorism (PAP-T). This includes sharing intelligence and analysis with NATO, enhancing national counter-terrorist training capabilities and improving border security.
Border security experts from NATO and Partners nations have also supported border security improvements. A report produced by these experts in 2010 provided recommendations to the Armenian State Border Force; these have been translated in goals for the State Border Force to improve border security. A further NATO-Armenia workshop on border security took place in October 2011.
In consultation with NATO, Armenia has begun a process of reviewing its national crisis-management procedures and arrangements.
NATO has no direct role in negotiations aimed at resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which are being conducted in the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group. However, NATO takes an interest in this process and encourages all sides to continue their efforts aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Peaceful resolution of conflicts is a core value of NATO, and is one of the core commitments that all Partner countries commit to when joining the Partnership for Peace (PfP).
Defence and security sector reform
NATO is supportive of the wide-ranging democratic and institutional reform process underway in Armenia. In the area of defence and security sector reform, NATO and individual Allies have considerable expertise that Armenia can draw upon.
A key priority for Armenia is to ensure democratic control of the armed forces, which is being reinforced by its participation in the Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building.
Armenia has consulted with NATO Allies on the development of a National Security Strategy and a new Military Doctrine. Using guidance provided by these documents, Armenia completed its Strategic Defence Review in May 2011 and initiated its implementation, Armenia and NATO staff, supported by national experts, are in consultations over Armenian defence planning and budgeting procedures which will be key tools for the implementation of the Strategic Defence Review and the development of its defence plans.
NATO and Armenia are cooperating on the establishment of a situation centre in Yerevan. This centre will assist in crisis-management and counter-terrorism coordination.
Civil emergency planning
Armenia is determined to improve its emergency preparedness and response capabilities to deal with disasters and asymmetric threats. In the context of the IPAP, the Armenian Rescue Service is taking a number of measures to improve contingency planning and is actively contributing to the establishment of the planned government crisis-management centre. Armenia is also working to enhance links with the NATO-based Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) in order to contribute to international disaster relief operations. The Armenian Rescue Service is preparing two teams (search and rescue and chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear experts) to be made available for disaster relief operations. In September 2010, Armenia hosted a large NATO/Partnership for Peace consequence management field exercise called “Armenia 2010”.
Science and environment
Under the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, Armenia has received grant awards for about 38 projects for scientific and environmental collaboration. Projects undertaken include the prevention of, detection of, and response to, nuclear and radiological threats, risk assessment on natural disasters, water security, and cataloguing discarded pesticides to lay the groundwork for their proper disposal.
Researchers from Armenia have also been working on a SPS funded project in the Caucasus region designed to gather comprehensive seismic observations, conduct hazard analyses and prepare for effective and prompt response to emergencies.
Other projects include collaboration on improving trans-boundary water quality with Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as network technology studies. Armenia also participated in the Virtual Silk Highway project, which aims to improve internet access for academics and research communities in the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia through a satellite-based network.
SPS also sponsors workshops in Armenia, including one in Yerevan in May 2009 that examined issues related to nuclear power and energy security. In total, scientists and experts from Armenia have had leading roles in 143 activities.
Annually, Armenia organizes a NATO week to raise public awareness of NATO and Armenia’s cooperation with the Alliance. It is also undertaking efforts to improve public information in support of its defence and security reforms. In line with this, NATO continues to provide advice and support where requested, including relevant training and consultations. A NATO information centre was officially opened in Yerevan in 2007 with the support of the Armenian government and NATO.
In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Armenia is the embassy of the United Kingdom.
Armenia joins the newly created North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, in 1997.
Armenia joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP).
Armenia is connected to the Virtual Silk Highway.
Armenia joins the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP).
Armenia hosts the PfP exercise “Cooperative Best Effort 2003” in June.
Armenian forces join KFOR.
At the Istanbul Summit, Allied leaders place special focus on the Caucasus – a special NATO representative and a liaison officer are assigned to the region.
On June 16, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian presents Armenia’s first IPAP to the North Atlantic Council.
President Kocharian visits NATO Headquarters.
NATO and Armenia agree on Armenia’s first IPAP.
Allies hold their first IPAP Assessment with Armenia in Brussels. Foreign Minister Oskanian and Defence Minister Sargsyan participate.
A NATO information centre officially opens in Yerevan.
Armenia hosts the PfP Exercise Cooperative Longbow/Lancer.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan visits NATO headquarters.
Armenia starts contributing troops to ISAF in Afghanistan.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan visits NATO headquarters.
Armenia hosts the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre’s civil emergency exercise in the Kotayk region near Yerevan.
NATO and Armenia agree Armenia’s third IPAP
2012 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan visits NATO headquarters. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian attends a meeting at NATO’s Summit in Chicago in May, joining high-level representatives from countries that are supporting the NATO-led stabilization mission in Afghanistan. In September, NATO Secretary General visits Armenia.