Co-chairs and EU’s ‘balanced’ positioning encourages Aliyev

Co-chairs and EU’s ‘balanced’ positioning encourages Aliyev

“Aravot” interviewee is the Ambassador on Special Tasks of the President of the Republic of Armenia from 1992 to 1995, the leader of the National Security Service of Armenia since 1994 to 1995, David Shahnazaryan.


– Mr. Shahnazaryan, on January 30, the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan announced in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that it is already time to revise and modernize the strategy of the national security of the Republic of Armenia. Which directions have a necessity of being revised, in your opinion?


– The necessity of revising the Strategy of the National Security of the Republic of Armenia, adopted in 2007 had emerged long before, the geopolitical and regional events are subject to dynamic changes, new challenges come forth unceasingly, and I think that document should be modernized. I think at least 2 provisions should be included in the new conception. The first one is to stipulate Armenia’s balanced and multi-vector foreign policy.  


– Will you explain in what direction particularly? Because it is common to consider that the multi-vector policy is conducted in the frameworks of “and-and” by Armenia.


– I assess the foreign policy carried out in the last year positive, the principles justify themselves, they should not be changed. The foreign policy should continue being balances and multi-vector, but more active and initiative. In particular, we should develop and balance the relations with the EU and the United States, Iran, and Israel as well as make the multi-vector cooperation with China and India deeper in line with preserving the strategic relations with Russia.   

The second point, which should find a place in the Strategy of the National security of the Republic of Armenia is the real and effective fight against corruption, inasmuch as however positively dynamic it is in the development of the economy, it is not enough for solving the issues of the national security.


– The necessity of the revision of the Strategy of the National Security is conditioned by April War of 2016. What steps do we have to take concerning this?

– I view all that more comprehensively. The 7-year project of the modernization of the Armed Forces is simply one field, the army is the last means of providing the national security. The national security system is a far larger field starting from the foreign policy, ended with the economy. And we have not learned properly from April War, but, first and foremost, a multi-vector foreign policy is important, in accord with the geopolitical and regional fast changes.  


– Noteworthy events took place parallel with OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs’ latest regional visit: the scandalous announcement was voiced by the President of Azerbaijan on “taking Yerevan and Zangezur back”, we had a victim on the border, the Co-chairs adopted another balanced statement, in which they called on the parties “to refrain from aggressive announcements and provoking actions”, nevertheless, they did not mention that the mentioned urges referred to Azerbaijan.


– The announcement of Azerbaijani President on “taking Yerevan and Zangezur back”  should be given seriousness to because of several reasons. Aliyev has made the announcement after the meeting with OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs when they were still in the region. I am sure, both Aliyev and the Co-chairs have been dissatisfied with the meeting. The Co-chairs have insisted that the peaceful settlement of the issue should be based on the 3 fundamental principles of Helsinki Final Act: non-application of force and force threat, territorial integrity, and equality of rights and self-determination of peoples, which contradicts to Aliyev’s policy.

I am sure that the Co-chairs have again put the question of the implementation of the demand of control and incident investigation mechanisms installation on the borderline in front of Aliyev, in concert with Vienna, Saint Petersburg, and Geneva agreements. They have also raised the question of the necessity of taking steps towards creating a trust between the parties.  All this does not comply with Azerbaijan’s plans and I am assured, Aliyev has raised exclusively the question of returning the territories.  

The aforementioned announcement made by Aliyev after this meeting should be connected solely with the pre-election factor and even if it is a pre-election campaign, then it witnesses that Aliyev aspires to evoke more extremist moods within his public. Besides, it is a certain message to the Co-chairs and here is how he responds to mediators’ urges of creating trust mechanisms.  

The next, Aliyev tries to influence on the inner political situation of Armenia by his announcement, hopeful that in Armenian people will also voice extremist and radical urges, for example, that the negotiations should be terminated. Consequently, both the political forces and the NGO-s, as well as the experts should refrain from such urges not to appear in Aliyev’s trap.

Moreover, Armenia should quite actively continue showing its loyalty to OSCE Minsk Group format and peaceful negotiations, which do not contradict the interests of the Armenian side. Armenia’s positioning in the settlement issue is clear – territories in return for the international recognition of the Republic of Artsakh. It is evident that Karabakh settlement is possible exclusively through compromises and the change on the frontline without the clarification of the status will bring about a more dangerous and explosive situation than we have today. And it is evident that Azerbaijan attempts to demolish the negotiation process inasmuch as the stream it pursues now, does not comply with the policy it imagines.

In my opinion, Aliyev’s step is preconditioned by other reasons as well about which we will speak later.     

Perhaps, the sole calculation in which Aliyev has not made a mistake yet is the lack of the respective response by the international community to his announcement on “taking Yerevan and Zangezur back”. A suchlike response has been made neither by Co-chairs, nor the EU. After that announcement the Minister of the Foreign Relations was meeting with EU High Commissioner for Refugees Federica Mogherini in Brussels, furthermore, it was announced that the EU is preparing for signing Comprehensive and Enlarged Partnership Agreement with Azerbaijan as well and not a single word of Aliyev’s aforementioned announcement. Such a “balanced” positioning of the co-chairing countries and the EU encourage Aliyev’s policy striving for a military action.

If we view the priorities of the foreign policy of Azerbaijan pursued throughout the past 7 to 8 years, then we should pay attention to the circumstance that until 2013, when Armenia was going to sign an association agreement with the EU, Azerbaijan’s target was the EU with “caviar diplomacy”. Since 2013, when Armenia announced it would join the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, EAEU member states and Russia became Azerbaijan’s target. And after CEPA was signed between Armenia and the EU, Azerbaijan started cooperation with the EU and now it is going to sign an agreement with the EU.     

There is an important circumstance present here: the CEPA, which Armenia has signed with all 28 EU member states, precisely constitutes that the peaceful resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be based on the aforementioned principles of international law, now Azerbaijan is going to sign a similar document with the EU and it is extremely important for both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the parliamentary diplomacy to work towards a target for the current European Parliament verify Armenia-EU CEPA as soon as possible, within the current year.    

It is obvious that Aliyev had been pursuing an objective of gaining a right to war from the international community throughout the recent years and now it tries to go on with that policy, forgetting the abolishment of its plans in April War of 2016 and the lessons which he skipped to take from it. It is also obvious that that policy could not give a result and after signing a CEPA between the Republic of Armenia and the EU Aliyev’s mentioned policy is doomed to failure ultimately.

– That is, the EU is not against having a partner like Azerbaijan, the leader of which is engaged in corruption deals, according to a lot of western publications.


– Yes. Such tolerance encourages the continuation of Aliyev’s current day policy striving for a war. Let me bring up an example: when the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un made such extremist announcements, the international community gave a strictly criticizing response, the Security Council of the UN adopted sanctions.  

The tolerating attitude of the international community towards Aliyev’s announcements directly encourages the continuation of the policy it pursues striving for a war. Until today a respective assessment made by both the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states and the EU has lacked. The “balanced” assessments within the joint announcement of the Co-chairs implied no addressee.   


“Aravot Daily”

16 Feb 2018

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