YEREVAN—The resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as ensuring regional security are Armenia’s top foreign policy priorities in the coming five years, according to deputy foreign minister Shavarsh Kocharyan, who outlined Yerevan’s outlook in an interview with news.am.
“Obviously, one of Armenia’s most important foreign policy objectives is the resolution of the Karabakh conflict,” said Kocharyan. “To this end, greater steps will be taken to involve Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiation process. Everyone realizes that it is difficult to speak about the effectiveness of talks without Karabakh’s participation. Naturally, we assume that the basis for resolving the conflict should be Karabakh people’s right to self-determination.”
Kocharyan also said that Armenian and the Nargono-Karabakh Republic must work together to halt attempts to a military solution to the conflict.
“Armenia will continue to support all steps taken by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, aimed at its economic development, strengthening of its defense capabilities, and in general the two Armenian states together will continue to move toward the development of a democratic society,” said Kocharyan.
“Azerbaijan continues to engage in misleading publicity stunts and uses the talks as a cover for its policies. Our goal is to expose the distortion promoted by Azerbaijan and present the true course of events. We are not distorting the international law, it is on side,” added Kocharyan. “The truth is that the conflict broke out and turned into war due to Azerbaijan’s power politics. It is not a mere coincidence that the position voiced by Armenia is coherent with those expressed by the co-chairing states and representatives of different international agencies.”
Kocharyan said Azerbaijan’s actions and statements run counter to the steps proposed by the international mediators in order to create an atmosphere of trust and build confidence between the two people, which he said is a prerequisite for achieving a comprehensive peace agreement.
“Thus, the mediators are calling for the withdrawal of snipers from the contact line. While Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia support the proposal, Azerbaijan is against it,” explained Kocharyan. “The mediators propose the establishment of mechanisms to investigate the incidents on the frontline and again, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia are supportive, while Azerbaijan is against the initiative. In response to calls by the international community to maintain the ceasefire agreement Azerbaijan continues to stage acts of sabotage.”
In coming years, Armenia’s foreign policy will continue to develop in the direction which pursues the goal to ensure protection of the state interests, the country’s security, creation of favorable external conditions for economic development, enhancing the international image of Armenia, ensuring regional stability and security.
Kocharyan also highlighted Armenia’s priority to work toward the prevention and condemnation of crimes against humanity such as Genocide.
“This aspect is especially important in light of the 100th anniversary of the tragedy the Armenian people survived. The efforts that have been initiated are important not only for our country and the Diaspora, but for the entire world. The unpunished crimes against humanity and their denial create fertile ground for recurrence of similar events,” said Kocharyan.
“Preparations have already begun to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015. It must be taken into consideration that Turkey is extremely concerned about this date, and with has begun to persistently mobilize its forces, including the communities abroad, in an attempt to hinder the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. However, this [effort by Turkey] will not stop the process of international recognition. By denying the Genocide, the leadership of modern Turkey resembles the Ottoman Turkish government which perpetrated the Genocide,” said Kocharyan.
The deputy foreign minister also highlighted the strengthening of relations with strategic partners, such a Russia, as an integral foreign policy objective. Development of relations with the US and the EU and advancing ties with neighbors, such as Georgia and Iran were also described as being of “great importance” for Yerevan.
Expanded cooperation with China, India, Japan, the Arab world, as well as developing relations with Africa and Latin America will also, according to Kocharyan, be a focal point of Armenia’s foreign policy priorities.
Kocharyan explained that Armenia’s membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization and its relations with Russia ensure military and political security of Armenia while it also works with NATO and European powers.
Armenia’s close working ties with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states and the OSCE Chairman in Office will also facilitate the advancement of peace in the region, according to Kocharyan.