Armenian paper notes importance of continuing cooperation with NATO

Armenian paper notes importance of continuing cooperation with NATO

Hayots Ashkharh, Yerevan
30 Jun 04

Text of Artak Grigoryan’s report by Armenian newspaper Hayots Ashkharh
on 30 June headlined “NATO and Armenia”

The NATO summit which has come to an end in Istanbul has shown that
serious disagreements are continuing within this powerful military and
political bloc. Because of those disagreements a further split is
taking place in mutual interests in several main directions. They are:

a) Ways of settling the Iraq issue although the USA has moved its
“knight”: on the eve of the summit it handed over power in Iraq to the
Iraqis themselves, but failed to get France and Germany’s agreement to
use NATO forces in that country in this or other way;

b) In turn, the host country of the summit, Turkey, also did
everything possible to demonstrate its indispensability for the
Western community. But in this sense, the “performance was not
successful” either, as Bush was met in Istanbul by thousands of
demonstrators who showed a growth in anti-American moods in Turkey;

c) Also, they did not manage to restore severed cooperation between
Turkey and France, which is why Jacques Chirac did not reply to the
Turkish president’s hint about the recognition of the Armenian

So the NATO summit showed that although the US leadership is doing
everything possible today to correct its mistakes in the Iraq war, it
has no more opportunity to return to “good old” times, because the
choice of new targets leads to a split in the interests of NATO member
countries. It is not by chance that the USA has adopted a strategy of
“employing” each of them in separate directions. The USA is trying to
take responsibility for the southern sector in order to preserve
control over the Arab world which is rich in mineral resources, is
directing the European Union to the South Caucasus and is trying to
direct Turkey to the European Union.

There is a question: will the USA manage to keep control over the
interests of its own partners who are gradually splitting up. Judging
by this, not all of them are going to oppose the USA. Simply each of
them is trying to solve its problems within the framework of
NATO. This working style is turning NATO into a specific “roof” under
which a fight for control over its separate “storeys” is taking place.

The understanding of this situation prompts us to assess in a
different way the problem of Armenia’s further cooperation with NATO,
i.e the task to see our own interests as much protected as
possible. So although Armenia continues to be a member of the CIS
Collective Security Treaty, next autumn it is going to draw up its own
programme of cooperation with NATO. Such cooperation is very necessary
to enable our country to participate in the processes taking place
within the framework of NATO today, that is, not to find ourselves

The reason is evident: although Turkey’s positions within NATO seem
strong and steadfast, this country is no longer indispensable. Turkey
has turned into a very heavy instrument which gradually rusts and
requires big expenses for taking care of it. But when the time comes
for using that complex instrument, Turkey starts putting its own
interests forward as in the case of Iraq.

In such conditions, remaining a member of the CIS Collective Security
Treaty and at the same time, strengthening our cooperation with NATO
is not a “double game”, but a conscious need “to find room” in the
world and regional security systems.

First of all, a small country like Armenia does not need to be in
opposition to any pole of power. Second, to soften as much as possible
a likely threat from the clash of their interests in the
region. Third, not to allow Turkey and Azerbaijan to use NATO for
weakening Armenia’s positions in the region. And finally, to
understand that the more often statements are made about Turkey’s
indispensability for NATO, the more evident is their role of a

We are sure that remaining a member of the CIS Collective Security
Treaty and at the same time, deepening its mutual cooperation with
NATO, Armenia will get several equally interesting opportunities for
strengthening its positions in the region and specific options for
their implementation.