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Helsinki Commission assesses Iskander systems’ transfer to Armenia as destabilizing factor

18 May 2017 [16:28] - TODAY.AZ

By  Trend

Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, American senator Roger Wicker, during the Helsinki Hearing Exchange on Iskander Missile Systems in Washington on May 17, raised the topic about Russia’s destabilizing transfers of threatening weapons systems to neighboring and regional countries.

Wicker said that Russia has transferred the Iskander-E missile system to the OSCE member state Armenia and these destabilizing arms transfers are stoking tensions throughout Europe and Eurasia, according to the meeting’s transcript.

Stephen Rademaker, former assistant secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration and head of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, for his part, noted that the Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR) exists to limit missile technology transfers.

He went on to say that the key question is which version of the Iskander missile systems was transferred by Russia to Armenia, because various versions of Iskander are limited or not limited to the MCTR.

If it was Iskander-E then it was consistent with the MCTR, noted Rademaker, adding that if it was Iskander-M, then it would be inconsistent. “I have actually seen conflicting press accounts of which version was transferred to Armenia,” he added.

In 2016, Russia and Armenia signed a new agreement on new weapons transfers to Armenia and the development of overall military-technical cooperation; and most significantly the transfer to Armenia of the Iskander missile.

For more than two decades Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of war following Yerevan’s aggression, ethnic cleansing policy and illegal territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenia keeps under control over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions in a brutal war in the early 1990s.

Despite a fragile ceasefire agreement signed in 1994, Armenia keeps violating armistice with Azerbaijan.


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