Sunday, June 23, 2024

Armenia should not rely on Russia, but must get closer to West: PM

Yerevan should distance itself from Moscow and try to get closer to the West, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with Politico.

“As a result of the events in Ukraine, the capabilities of Russia have changed.” Without giving the Armenian prime minister’s exact quotes, Politico reported that Pashinyan declared Armenia should not rely on its old ally Russia, but admitted “there was a long way to go before Western countries could be seen as offering the full support Armenia needs,” Pashinyan said, according to Politico.

“We want to have an independent country, a sovereign country, but we have to have ways to avoid ending up at the center of clashes between West and East, North and South,” he stated.

He added that Armenia should try to decrease its dependency on others and described the model wherein the Armenians have to turn to others to protect them as a very faulty one.

The Armenian prime minister once again lambasted Russian peacekeepers for the events in the Lachin Corridor, but added the caveat that the situation would hardly be better if the Russian peacekeepers were not in the region.

Recently, the Armenian leadership has repeatedly bashed Moscow over the situation in the region. Moreover, Yerevan invited the EU civilian mission, which has been operating at the border with Azerbaijan since the beginning of 2023, and then called for enlarging the monitoring mission. On top of that, Armenia hosted the Eagle Partner joint military exercise with the United States in September.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Armenian officials’ statements more and more often look like “public rhetoric, which borders on something like boorishness,” while Moscow has more and more questions for Yerevan over Armenia’s recent steps.

On September 8, Armenian Ambassador to Moscow Vagharshak Harutiunyan was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where he was given a stern talking to over Yerevan’s unfriendly moves. However, the Foreign Ministry emphasized that Moscow firmly proceeds from the premise that Russia and Armenia are allies and their agreements on fostering and bolstering relations will be fully implemented to benefit both countries.

Also on Wednesday, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Armenia offers Azerbaijan to mutually withdraw forces from the border, based on the 1975 USSR General Staff maps.

“The Azerbaijani Armed Forces must be withdrawn from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. At the same time, while remaining interested in establishing stability and peace in the region, the Republic of Armenia reaffirms its offer to mutually withdraw its forces from the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on the 1975 USSR General Staff maps,” the statement says.

“Led by the feeling impunity, Azerbaijan continues to threaten the world and stability on Southern Caucasus,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry underscored.

“These days, multiple videos are being disseminated on social media, proving that Azerbaijan accumulates forces and high-caliber military vehicles both along the Armenian state border and the contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh in direct proximity of Russian peacekeeping forces’ area of responsibility. Azerbaijani fire is becoming increasingly frequent,” the Foreign Ministry underlined.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed its hope that the stakeholders, “interested in peace and security in the region, that possess mandate on this issue, will exert all efforts and utilize all available mechanisms in order to prevent attempts at further destabilization and illegal use of force in the region”.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan also said on Wednesday that Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev may meet in October in Granada,

“I once said that there are almost always proposals for meetings and negotiations. In fact, such preliminary agreements are in place. After the meeting with the prime minister in Brussels, they said that another meeting with the leaders has been planned, also in October in Granada,” he stated.

Mirzoyan also added that the Armenian side has received responses to its proposals on the peace agreement from Baku, but their positions on essential issues are still far apart.

“We previously handed over the fifth package of amendments to the text of the peace agreement to the Azerbaijani side, and literally yesterday we received new proposals from Baku. Unfortunately, there are some essential issues on which the positions of the sides are still far apart,” he specified.

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