Mounting regional challenges were discussed on Monday by Armenia’s National Security Council, which convened a regular session with an agenda that reflected the current situation in the region.
In his remarks at the opening of the meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan lamented at the complex challenges posed by security-related issues in the region and vowed to take appropriate action.
“Unfortunately the security situation around Armenia has deteriorated since our previous meeting. The recent developments in our region are prompting us to be more vigilant in the face of the emerging security challenges,” said Pashinyan adding that the security council must carefully debate the situation and “find the necessary tools to avoid additional risks for Armenia.”
The recent escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran and Monday’s announcement by President Trump of imposing tougher sanctions on Tehran, have placed Armenia in a tenuous situation.
Furthermore, renewed friction between Moscow and Tbilisi poses significant challenges to Yerevan. President Vladimir Putin of Russia signed a decree on Friday, imposing a temporary ban on passenger flights to Georgia beginning July 8, the Kremlin press office reported.
The ban comes after mass protests in Tbilisi, sparked by an uproar over a Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On June 20, several thousand protesters converged on the parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm the building. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, dozens were detained, 240 people suffered injuries.
On Thursday morning, IAO President Sergey Gavrilov, who is also a Russian parliament member, opened the session in the Georgian parliament. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that a Russian official addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO to continue.
The renewed tensions with Georgia and Iran, compounded by the ongoing realities of the Karabakh conflict pose a precarious challenge for Armenia’s National Security Council.
“Of course, ensuring enhanced security for the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh is the most serious priority for the government. And in this regard, we must discuss and address not only medium-term, but also strategic objectives,” said Pashinyan at the NSC meeting. He explained that these concerns were discussed within the cabinet and various political circles in Armenia.