YEREVAN — Senior German and Armenian military officials reportedly agreed on Wednesday to step up bilateral defense cooperation which is a major component of Armenia’s broader ties with NATO.

First Deputy Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan and other senior Armenian officials and a visiting delegation of the German Federal Ministry of Defense reviewed that cooperation during two days of negotiations in Yerevan.

According to the Armenian Defense Ministry they worked out a plan of joint German-Armenian activities for next year. “They reached an agreement to maintain the development dynamic of the cooperation with the aim of enhancing the existing level of interoperability,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement specified that military ties between the two states center on Germany’s support for ongoing defense reforms implemented by Yerevan and training of Armenian military personnel as well as Armenia’s participation in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

Armenian soldiers have served under German command and used German equipment ever since they were first deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. Many of them underwent short training courses in Germany before their deployments.

Armenia plans to keep 120 soldiers currently stationed there after NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is replaced with a new and smaller multinational mission in January. German and Armenian defense officials signed a relevant protocol in May.

“I want to single out Armenia’s productive cooperation with Germany, which is certainly a great example of interaction between NATO’s member and partner states,” President Serzh Sarkisian said in a speech at a NATO summit in Wales last week. Sarkisian said Armenian troops have gained “invaluable experience” in Afghanistan.

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