Armenia develops relations with NATO and EU

Armenia develops relations with NATO and EU

5 Nov 04

Though NATO Membership Is not on the Agenda Negotiations Should be

Minister of foreign affairs of Armenia Vartan Oskanian noted recently
that Armenia doesn’t set a priority to become NATO member but will
deepen relations with the Organization.

Deputy foreign minister Ruben Shugarian informed Azg Daily that NATO
membership is not high on the agenda but there may come a point of
starting negotiations. NATO Secretary General is arriving in Yerevan
on November 5 within the frameworks of the South Caucasian visit.

“NATO is willing to deepen relations with Armenia. Though Armenia was
not as active in cooperation with NATO as its 2 neighbors, today we
see signs signaling of Yerevan’s readiness to maintain deeper
relations”, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer informed Mediamax
news agency a day before his visit.

“Azerbaijan and Georgia have the NATO membership on their agenda’s.But
if take a closer look we’ll see that our cooperation with NATO does
not differ from those of Azerbaijan and Georgia. But if Azerbaijan and
Georgia have to take administrative, technical steps then Armenia has
too take political ones”, Shugarian said.

Deputy minister Shugarian held a speech recently in Michigan
University where he was invited to participate at a conference on
South Caucasus and Armenian policy. “My speech was mainly about EU’s
new neighborhood, Armenian-Turkish relations and political
perspectives for the 3 Caucasian states and region’s new geo-political
identity. My speech put an accent on the importance of the
Armenian-Turkish border-gate”, he said.

“That is not simply a Turkish border but NATO’s border with
Armeniawhich remains closed up to now. We may even call it the
region’s border with NATO as Georgia’s and Azerbaijan’s borders are
not wide enough to make relations tighter and secondly, it is not a
geographical issue but a geopolitical one”, Shugarian said in his

Yerevan should not pin hopes on NATO that it will make Turkey put an
end to Armenia’s blockade. On the other hand, Armenian authorities
hope that Turkey in its strive for the EU will open the
border. Shugarian said that at the European-Armenians’ congress in
Brussels last month the EU representative read a sentence from
European Commission’s report concerning Armenia.

“There is the following sentence in the report: â=80=98The perspective
that Turkey may become EU member will make it put relations right with
its neighborsâ=80=99. If the sentence were other way around, i.e. if
it said that the perspective that Turkey will not become EU member
will make it put relations right with its neighbors, that would be
completely a different thing. EU-Turkey talks may last a decade and
the day before the end of the talks Turkey may open the border”,
Shugarian said.

Six Armenian ambassadors from different European states participated
at the congress in Brussels. While the European-Armenians were holding
meetings appealing to European states not to include Turkey in the EU,
foreign minister Vartan Oskanian was speaking for Turkey’s accession
in Rome.

I don’t see any contradiction in what the European-Armenians say and
what the minister said. The issue was discussed in different legal
levels. We want to have a common border with the EU because our
further aim is joining the EU. Armenian communities of Europe may
have their view as regards Turkeyâ=80=99s accession. They may be
concerned about purely Armenian issues such as the blockade and the
Armenian Genocide”, Shugarian said.

Shugarian also notes that the issue of the Armenian Genocide is
mutually important for both the Armenian state and the Diaspora but
has diverse tints. “Firstly, Diaspora is a result of the Genocide. If
Diaspora considers Genocide acknowledgment, primarily by Turkey, a
reinstatement of historic justice then Armenia considers it a
guarantee for safety and prevention of possible recurrence in
future. They say that today’s Turkey is different. There are
differences, of course, but what’s Turkey’s attitude towards Armenians
today? We are in blockade and Turkey carries on an aggressive
policy. Blockade is a war action”.

By Tatoul Hakobian