France introduced Monday the sale of defensive tools to Armenia as Azerbaijan launched navy drills with its ally Turkey.
The deal was introduced weeks after Baku seized Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenian separatists and amid fears in Yerevan that Azerbaijan would possibly now search to focus on southern Armenia.
Chatting with reporters, French Protection Minister Sebastien Lecornu mentioned Armenia would purchase three Floor Grasp 200 (GM200) radar techniques from the French protection group Thales, with out offering monetary particulars.
The system, already utilized in Ukraine, is understood for its “exceptional detection capabilities,” Lecornu mentioned at a press convention alongside Armenian Protection Minister Suren Papikyan.
The ministers additionally signed a letter of intent for Armenia’s buy of air protection techniques involving Thales and European missile maker MBDA, a spokeswoman for Lecornu advised AFP.
Lecornu mentioned the letter of intent concerned the acquisition of “Mistral-type” tools, referring to a short-range air protection missile system.
“Detection solely is sensible whether it is accompanied by intervention and interception modules for assaults coming from the sky,” Lecornu mentioned.
“It’s the Armenian ministry which is buying these weapons and which shall be topic to export licences,” he added.
He insisted that the weapons have been defensive in nature.
“It’s a weapon system which, by its very nature, can solely be applied when there’s an aggression on Armenian territory and sometimes with civilian populations beneath,” Lecornu mentioned.
Armenia additionally signed a contract to purchase night-vision goggles from the French group Safran, the protection ministry spokeswoman mentioned.
In an announcement, the Armenian protection ministry mentioned that the ministers mentioned protection and that the 2 international locations later signed paperwork referring to “bilateral cooperation.”
In early October, French Overseas Minister Catherine Colonna mentioned on a go to to Armenia that Paris had agreed to ship navy tools to the small South Caucasus nation.
After that announcement, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev refused to fulfill with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for talks in Spain.
Azerbaijan slammed what it referred to as France’s coverage of “militarization” within the South Caucasus.
France, which has a big Armenian diaspora, has helped mediate a decades-old territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Earlier Monday, Azerbaijan mentioned it had begun joint navy drills with its ally Turkey close to the border with Armenia.