Relations with Armenia
Armenia contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with the Allies and other partner countries in many other areas. Support for the country’s reform efforts is a priority.
- Relations with NATO started when Armenia joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1992) and the Partnership for Peace (1994).
- The country’s programme of cooperation with NATO is set out in an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is agreed every two years.
- NATO and Armenia cooperate on wide-ranging democratic, institutional and defence reforms.
- Armenia is an active contributor to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
More background information
Armenia has contributed troops to the Kosovo Force (KFOR) since 2004. From 2009, the country also supported the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and, following the completion of ISAF’s mission, is currently supporting the NATO-led efforts to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces, known as the Resolute Support Mission.
NATO and individual Allies have supported Armenia’s efforts to develop the interoperability with NATO forces of the Armenian Peacekeeping Battalion and enable it to become a brigade with associated combat support and combat service support units.
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.
NATO and Armenia have cooperated on the establishment of a situation centre in Yerevan, which will assist in crisis management and counter-terrorism coordination.
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.
Since 2002, Armenia has participated in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP), which is a core element of Armenia’s cooperation with NATO, helping to develop the ability of its forces to work with NATO forces on operations. NATO has also supported the introduction of civilian personnel to the Armenian Ministry of Defence.
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.
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.
NATO’s Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) provides tailored practical support to help countries build, develop and reform their professional military education institutions. Cooperation with Armenia in this area started in 2008 at the request of the Minister of Defence. DEEP contributed to the drafting and editing of the Armenian Military Education Concept (that was adopted in 2010) and assisted with the restructuring of the Junior Officer Staff Course in 2010. The Programme also helped develop the Senior Officer Command and Staff Course that was inaugurated in September 2013. The inauguration of the National Defense Research University in Yerevan in January 2016 represented a major milestone in the transformation of the Armenian Armed Forces and was a product of close cooperation through DEEP.
Civil emergency planning
Armenia is determined to improve its emergency preparedness and response capabilities to deal with disasters and asymmetric threats. 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 NATO’s 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, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) experts) to be made available for disaster relief operations. In September 2010, Armenia hosted a large NATO/PfP consequence management field exercise called “Armenia 2010”.
Science and environment
Armenia has been actively engaged within the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme since 1993 and has several ongoing activities. Leading areas for cooperation include defence against CBRN agents and disaster forecast and prevention.
Armenia has received grant awards for projects for scientific and environmental collaboration, including 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 worked on an 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 transboundary 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.
(More on Armenia's ongoing cooperation under the SPS Programme)
Armenia organises a NATO Week annually 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.
Armenia sets out its reform plans and timelines in its Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is jointly agreed for a two-year period. Armenia’s IPAP is geared towards strengthening political dialogue with NATO and supporting the country’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 and 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 cooperates with NATO and other partner countries in a wide range of other areas through the PfP programme, the 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.
1992: Armenia joins the newly created North Atlantic Cooperation Council (renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997).
1994: Armenia joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP).
2002: Armenia is connected to the Virtual Silk Highway.
2002: Armenia joins the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP).
June 2003: Armenia hosts the PfP exercise “Cooperative Best Effort 2003”.
2004: Armenian forces join KFOR.
2004: 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.
2005: Armenian President Robert Kocharian visits NATO Headquarters.
2005: NATO and Armenia agree on Armenia’s first Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP).
2007: A NATO information centre officially opens in Yerevan.
2008: Armenia hosts the PfP Exercise “Cooperative Longbow/Lancer”.
2008: Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan visits NATO Headquarters.
2009: Armenia starts contributing troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
2010: President Sargsyan visits NATO Headquarters.
2010: Armenia hosts the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre’s civil emergency exercise in the Kotayk region near Yerevan.
2012: President Sargsyan visits NATO Headquarters.
May 2012: Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian attends a meeting at NATO’s Summit in Chicago, joining high-level representatives from countries that are supporting ISAF in Afghanistan.
September 2012: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visits Armenia.
January 2015: Following the completion of the ISAF operation in Afghanistan in December 2014, Armenia starts contributing to the follow-on NATO-led mission (“Resolute Support”) to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions.
28 January 2016: The National Defense Research University opens its doors in Yerevan. This represents a major milestone in the transformation of the Armenian Armed Forces and is a product of close cooperation through NATO’s Defence Education Enhancement Programme.
9 March 2016: Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the North Atlantic Council at NATO HQ for talks on cooperation with the Alliance and regional security issues.