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Armenian defense ministry says never confirmed participation in NATO drills in Georgia

September 04, 19:15 UTC+3 YEREVAN

According to earlier reports, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Romania, the United States and Ukraine were expected to take part in the Agile Spirit 2017 drills

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YEREVAN, September 4. /TASS/. Armenia did not officially confirm its participation in NATO’s Agile Spirit 2017 military exercises, which kicked off in south Georgia on Sunday, Armenian First Deputy Defense Minister Artak Zakaryan told reporters on Monday.

"I cannot say why Armenia was listed as one of the participants," he said. "Armenia’s armed forces never said that they would participate in the next [NATO] military exercise," he added.

Zakaryan also said that he did not know "why Georgian sources claim that Armenia refused to take part in the drills at the last moment."

"Our military and political diplomacy is fully in line with the country’s foreign policy, the country takes comprehensive and confident decisions," Zakaryan said. He pointed out that Armenia was a full-fledged member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which was the country’s main security umbrella. At the same time, the Armenian deputy defense minister noted that NATO "was, is and will remain our partner."

The Georgian Defense Ministry said earlier that the main goal of the Agile Spirit 2017 was improving interaction between NATO and its partner states, bringing their military standards closer to NATO’s standards, as well as ensuring regional security and stability. According to earlier reports, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Romania, the United States and Ukraine were expected to take part in the drills. Later news came that Yerevan had refused from participating.

Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which also comprises Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

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