YEREVAN -- Top security officials from Armenia and Russia said they plan to significantly boost cooperation between their defense industries within the framework of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.
Nikolai Bordyuzha, the CSTO secretary-general, said after talks in Yerevan on July 20 that the CSTO had already launched a "pilot project" aimed at integrating Armenian defense enterprises into Russia's military-industrial complex.
"Military-industrial cooperation with Armenia is one of the priority areas of CSTO activities," the Regnum news agency quoted Bordyuzha as telling journalists.
Konstantin Biryulin, the deputy head of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation with foreign states, said, "We will soon be monitoring the implementation of agreements that were reached today."
According to Armenian National Security Council Secretary Artur Baghdasarian, the agreements envisage, among other things, the establishment of Russian-Armenian defense joint ventures.
The three men spoke at a press conference after two days of negotiations that also involved Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian. On July 19, Bordyuzha and Biryulin visited four Armenian factories that produce weapons and other military supplies.
Biryulin and other Russian officials visited Armenia in December for a session of the Russian-Armenian intergovernmental commission on bilateral military-technical cooperation.
The military alliance with Russia and, in particular, the presence of Russian troops in Armenia has been a key element of Armenia's national security doctrine since independence.
Armenia has been entitled to receive Russian weapons at reduced prices or even for free because of its membership in the CSTO.
"In my opinion, the possibility of purchasing Russian weapons is the main privilege given to CSTO members states within the framework of military-industrial cooperation," Ohanian told Interfax on July 20. "I will not hide the fact that we pin big hopes on this sphere of activity."
The CSTO groups Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.