We need diplomatic flexibility to avoid clash of interests of major players in Armenia: Karen Veranyan
It’s been a week that Azerbaijan has been active along the Armenian borders, in particular, fire was launched from Nakhijevan in the direction of the Armenian villages of Areni (Vayots Dzor region), and there was fire shot at Shoti (Tavush region) village as well, as a result of which a civilian was injured.
Concerning the alarming aggressive actions on the part of the enemy, HAY DZAYN interviewed the political scientist, expert on Israel, head of the political research center of the Noravank Foundation, KAREN VERANYAN.
- For several days, the Azerbaijani side has been shelling the borders of Armenia, which is a member of the CSTO, keeping the inhabitants of the border villages in suspense. In the past years in case of such a situation, it was often possible to observe bewilderment in our society at the lack of reaction from the CSTO, or even surprise at the fact that the organization does not resort to adequate measures. Why does no one speak about this today?
- Yes, in the past I also had a similar experience when the CSTO reacted appropriately to the tension along the borders of Armenia and the shelling of Armenian villages. The former authorities also repeatedly made statements on this. Certain positive changes have nevertheless occurred, however, in general, the precedent remains the same. Regardless of the circumstances, it should be noted that Russia is a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group, and it is unprofitable for it if the situation escalates at the level of firefighting that contains greater risks. I should note that Azerbaijan and Turkey, not being members of the CSTO, try to indirectly influence the internal problems of the organization.
- In your opinion, what is the reason for the recent escalation on the border? Do you agree with the opinion that after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit, the tension in the region has increased dramatically, given her statements that Russia "stirs up conflicts and destabilizes the situation in the post-Soviet republics, including Armenia and Azerbaijan"?
- To some extent, this can be conditioned by the visit of Ms. Merkel, but we see the region has been in the focus of attention of various world players for several months already. A vivid confirmation of this is the activation of visits and meetings of various levels. This entire demonstrates that the interests of many players are concentrated in the region, and for Azerbaijan, this is a good reason to draw world attention to the Artsakh issue. Merkel's visit also showed that Germany has its own special interests in the South Caucasus. Such global developments in the region should be viewed against the background of the US sanctions against Iran, Russia and Turkey.
- In such a situation, what policy should Armenia pursue in order to avoid a clash of geopolitical interests?
- Our policy should be based on the previous course of foreign policy. That is, on a strategic alliance with Russia, on deepening relations with the European Union and the United States. It is very important that there is no clash of interests of major players in Armenia, so the Armenian side should do everything possible to ensure these interests coincide. This requires diplomatic flexibility. Azerbaijan is trying to isolate Armenia in various areas - energy, politics, etc. We need to further intensify our traditional ties. In particular, if Azerbaijan deepens cooperation with Israel, we need to try to intensify relations with Iran and Russia, making these relations more effective. It is necessary to deepen relations between Armenia, Russia and Iran to maintain a balance against the Turkish-Azerbaijani force.
- Analysts emphasize that the Prime Minister does not pay due attention to deepening relations with Iran, and relations with Russia, to put it mildly, are not too smooth. How do you assess this situation?
- Pashinyan has already stated that the priorities of Armenia's foreign policy will not change radically, the main directions will remain the same. Iran is a very important country for Armenia, I do not believe there is a change in the policy, only some reservations. Perhaps, some situational changes are taking place, which we should regard as lawful, since a new government has been formed, which is trying to cooperate with the authorities of different countries. I do not see any radical changes in the Armenian-Iranian relations. Speaking about the Armenian-Russian relations, I can say that I highly appreciate the Putin-Pashinyan meeting, the more such meetings are held, the more attempts will be made to effectively overcome and resolve existing problems.
The Armenian government must confirm its positions, and the leaders of the partner countries try to understand the new policy of the Armenian authorities. This is a matter of adjusting positions in relation to the new situation. Thanks to such meetings, the existing disagreements are quickly eliminated. In this regard, Vladimir Putin's visit to Armenia is very crucial, since the meeting between Putin and Pashinyan can bring to very effective results.
Interviewer: Anjela Harutyunyan
Translation: Gohar Isakhanyan
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