Lisbon’s mistake not to repeat in Brussels

Lisbon’s mistake not to repeat in Brussels

According to David Shahnazaryan, the Head of the National Security Service of Armenia in 1994-95, the Armenian President’s Special Envoy for 1992-95,  the possibility of signing the Armenia-EU agreement on November 24 has increased        

On November 24, Armenia and the EU plan to sign an initialed Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with Armenia at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. Information about certain concerns has been circulating for last weeks regarding both the signing of the agreement and the possibility of including formulations not so favorable for Armenia in the declaration. David Shahnazaryan, the Head of the National Security Service of Armenia in 1994-95, the Armenian President’s Special Envoy for 1992-95, commented on this on October 17 in an interview with “Aravot”.

During the interview with “Aravot” David Shahnazaryan noted that he is now much more optimistic than weeks ago: “The possibility of signing of the Armenia-EU agreement on November 24 has increased, let’s hope that it will be signed on the same day, if not on that day, then maybe later. It seems that there are no political problems, obstacles can be considered technical. At the moment there are no obstacles from the Russian side either”.

He noticed that during the recent weeks a very active and consistent work has been carried out with the EU member states by Armenia: “Efforts of both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and the Parliamentary diplomacy have brought to tangible results, particularly the recent resolution on Nagorno Karabakh adopted at the plenary session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly was positive”, our interlocutor noted. He added that besides the mentioned achievement, which was recorded by the Armenian parliamentary delegation in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in Kiev, it was important to work efficiently to improve the Armenian-Ukrainian not quite smooth relations: “This is important, given the influence of Ukraine in the EU structures”, said David Shahnazaryan.

As for the Nagorno Karabakh resolution adopted at the plenary session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, then, let us remind that according to Armen Ashotyan, head of the Armenian delegation, it is an important and pro-Armenian political document, and in a unanimous statement, Armenia and Azerbaijan are urged to immediately stop military operations and resume meaningful negotiations with the basic principles of the OSCE, in accordance with the Helsinki Final Act. In an interview with the Armenian service of Radio Service Europe/Radio Liberty Armen Ashotyan had told, that “with this message, the Armenian delegation, first of all, managed to distinguish the Karabakh issue from the existing conflicts”.

Mr. Shahnazaryan stressed that substantial work is being carried out in the draft declaration of the Eastern Partnership summit by the Armenian diplomacy, both by the foreign policy department of the Republic of Armenia, by the governmental parliamentary parties, and oppositional alliances, by the public sector and by the expert community.

We inquired of David Shahnazaryan, and what should be done in this case if the Brussels summit, however, does not change the current draft of the Declaration, and only the principle of preserving the territorial integrity of countries is included as a basis for the settlement of all conflicts. Our interlocutor noted, “Unlike the Declaration adopted at the Riga Summit in 2015, this formulation came as a result of the famous developments in Catalonia, given the attitude of the EU member states in these processes. If the principle of preserving the territorial integrity of the countries remains the only basis for the settlement of all conflicts, then I am sure that the mistake of the Lisbon Summit in 1996, that is starting a debate by contradicting the principles of territorial integrity and peoples’ self-determination, will not be repeated.

It is necessary to raise a question at the summit so that EU member states once again protect the format of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and support their efforts and approaches. France should be very active here, one of the key EU member states, which is a co-chairing country of the OSCE Minsk Group. Nevertheless, it should be very clear that the Armenia-EU agreement signed with 28 EU member states is termless and has a much higher status than summit declarations changing from time to time. Moreover, even in case of compliance with the provisions of the Declaration, the Armenia-EU Declaration makes it clear that this formulation does not refer to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict”.

        David Shahnazaryan attaches importance to the signing of the Armenia-EU agreement as soon as possible: “As you know, Azerbaijan also has started negotiations with the EU on signing such a document, although the process is rather complicated, related to the internal situation in Azerbaijan: the protection of human rights, freedom of media, and other democratic principles. Therefore, it is extremely important for Armenia to move ahead of Azerbaijan, because after the signing of the Armenia-EU agreement Azerbaijan will not be able to avoid the formulations regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which are fixed in the Armenia-EU agreement. The positive fact is that Armenia is ahead of Azerbaijan, and signing of the agreement is crucial for the security of Armenia, taking into account the formulations on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.

Referring to jealous comments on the signing of the Armenia-EU agreement from Russian experts, David Shahnazaryan noted: “The signing of an agreement between Armenia and the EU does not contradict either the Armenian-Russian relations or the commitments of Armenia in the CSTO and the EAEU. Trying to find contradictions in this field is a huge mistake, there are no such contradictions”.

According to Mr. Shahnazaryan, Armenia’s foreign policy has recently been quite active, which, according to him, is very positive. “I would especially highlight the visit of Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to Israel. This visit was preceded by the visit of Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Zeki Hanegbi months ago to Yerevan, during which it was underlined that “breakthrough” was recorded in the Armenian-Israeli relations. At the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Armenia’s Foreign Minister left for Israel. These steps indicate that significant processes are carried out for the diversification of Armenia’s foreign policy and security. I hope that Armenia will continue to operate gently, maintaining multilateral relations with neighboring Iran at the same time developing relations with Israel”, David Shahnazaryan noted.

 

Emma GABRIELYAN

 

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