YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–According to Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–the Republic of Armenia today enjoys a much broader and stronger ties with its neighbors than years past.
"In the past–Armenia’s foreign policy was based on unnecessary caution–which had created a surprising reaction from our neighbors and other allies," explained Oskanian in an interview with Radio Liberty.
The Foreign Minister explained that he is satisfied with the past eight months–and noted that there had been significant progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations–in strengthening ties with neighbors–in regional positioning–and in issues concerning European integration and ties with European countries.
"We are–with not doubt–in better relations with all of our neighbors–compared to last year," said he–noting that Armenia is in serious discussions with the Turkish government. In addition–Oskanian assessed that Armenia’s relations with the Russian Federation was also in an upward mode–and recent mutually beneficial meetings and discussions are indeed proof of that. As for Iran–Oskanian noted that relations have remained warm and friendly just as before and there has been no negative developmen’s on that front–contracty to what many analaysts predicted. With Georgia–explained the minister–there are military and social exchanges and there are many aspects of that relationship which have improved significantly.
Oskanian also explained in the interview that regionally–Armenia enjoys a stable and strong reputation–allowing for the country to have a more active and fluid role in regional matters. It is therefore that Armenia is able to house Russian bases on its territory and have good relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
According to the minister there is a three issues of integration at hand for Armenia –one toward the Middle East–another within the CIS and finally one with European structures.
"Without diminishing the importance of the other two–the European issue is the most important one for Armenia–because of the expansive and mutually beneficial nature of the such an alliance. There is a possibility that Armenia will become a full-fledged member of the European Council in 1999–once discussions on bilateral cooperation and agreemen’s commence in mid-1999," said the Foreign Minister.