Armenia Has No Right To Scrap Cooperation With West – Opposition MP

ARMENIA HAS NO RIGHT TO SCRAP COOPERATION WITH WEST – OPPOSITION MP

12:51 * 16.02.15

In an interview with Tert.am, the opposition Free Democrats party’s
leader commented on a recent Yerevan-hosted scientific conference
on the priorities of the Lithuanian presidency in the European Union
and possibilities with cooperation with Armenia.

Khachatur Kokobelyan said he sees that the question on possible
cooperation between the EU and Armenia still remains on the agenda
after scrapping the Eastern Partnership Agreement.

“Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia Trajan Hristea said recently
that the EU is not going to leave Armenia. Over the past 15 days, we
have been hearing statements of the kind from western diplomats who
find that the Russian armed forces’ presence and the Armenia-Russia
relations should not be an obstacle to developing the EU-Armenia
relations,” the politician said, adding that the West understands
that Armenia’s choice to join the Eurasian Economic Union was a
situational solution.

“I share that approach and believe that we should build and move ahead
with our relations considering that fact. I am confident that Armenia
simply has no other alternative; so it has to turn to the West . It
directly stems from a sovereign state’s interests.”

Considering Armenia’s Eurasian choice a forced decision, Kokobelyan
said he doesn’t accept the national security arguments proposed by
proponents of the policy line. He said he doesn’t think that Russia,
which sells weapons to Azerbaijan, can be Armenia’s security guarantor.

“Clearly, Armenia’s membership in the EEU was not the decision of the
Armenian citizens. But it is important, in the current situation, to
properly react to the political ‘messages’ adopted by the civilized
world,” he added.

Asked what factors pose constraints to Armenia, the politician pointed
out to Russian policies.

Asked about the framework of Armenia’s possible cooperation with the
European Union, Mr Kokobelyan said:

“It is in Armenia’s interests that Vilnius Summit sign documents that
would prove to be preconditions for essential practical progress in
Armenia-EU relations. Our government officials should think of making
practical progress.

“The west has made clear statements on political and security issues.

I would like to recall a statement by Eric Rubin, US Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. He
spoke of both developing economic cooperation with Armenia and
consolidating military cooperation and security component. He
noted the US understood the reason for Russian military presence
was the situation, which, however, would not impede the development
of relations. I consider it the greatest achievement for Armenia,
which is in a serious situation.”

As to the possibility of developments similar to the Ukraine crisis
in Armenia, in the context of the Russia-West confrontation, if
Armenia should start cooperating with the West, Mr Kokobelyan said
that Armenia should act prudently.

“In terms of security Armenia needs to progressively build up practical
relations with the EU and the West because in the modern world Armenia
has no right to decline the proposals by the West – in terms of both
economy and security.”

http://www.tert.am/en/news/2015/02/16/qoqobelian/1590806

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