In 2004 the EU intends to consider the question of Armenia's entry into the organization, said EU Commissar Gunther Verheugen in a meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan in Brussels, according to the Armenian president's press service. This is the first such announcement made by the EU in regard to Armenia's entry. Armenia also requested that the EU open a permanent representative office in Armenia.
In his meeting with Kocharyan, European Parliament Chairman Pat Cox said he has the impression that Armenia adheres to European standards. Cox said that at the present time all three countries of the Southern Caucuses - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia - are petitioning to receive the status of 'new neighbor' of the EU, which is an intermediate step to becoming an EU member.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea