YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. Armenia is diversifying its relations in the security sector and doesn’t reject cooperation with Russia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with The Telegraph.
The Armenian PM repeated that Armenia is not Russia’s ally in the Ukraine conflict.
“We have not said that we deny and reject cooperation with Russia in general and in the security sector in particular. What we have said is that we are going to diversify our relations in the security sector. What does this mean? Does this mean that we are going to break our security relationship with Russia? No, it doesn't mean that, but it means that in the field of security, we are preparing and ready, and we are discussing and working to establish relations, for example, with the European Union, which is already a reality by and large, with France, which is already a reality by and large, with the United States, which is already by and large a reality, with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is already by and large a reality, with India, which is already by and large a reality, and with many other countries. Our security relations with the United States, or France, or India, or the European Union are not naturally directed against Russia. This is simply the consequence of the reality that the security relationships we used to have in the past do not address our security needs,” the Armenian PM said when asked to comment on his earlier statement that Armenia "cannot rely on Russia" as its defense partner anymore and whether this means that Armenia is seeking a future with NATO.
“As to NATO, this is not an item on our agenda. In other words, we have not and are not discussing NATO membership. We do have partnership relations with NATO, and there is nothing new there. We used to have an Individual Partnership Action Plan, now that program is being reformatted into a certain partnership format that doesn't imply membership. I will also tell you something that we are at least a de jure member of the CSTO today, and I am not sure if there are discussions on that topic in general, or rather in Armenia, as to how well the alliance-based strategy corresponds to Armenia's interests, in general, in the long term,” Pashinyan added.
Asked about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Pashinyan repeated that Armenia is not Russia’s ally in the conflict with Ukraine. “Ukraine war had just started, I believe I gave an interview to the Czech CNN and I said that we are not Russia's ally in the matter of Ukraine, and that is the reality. But I also want to say that our security cooperation with the United States or France or our other security partners is not directed against our other security partner. Another thing is that our partners may have concerns about how cooperation with others could affect their security systems. We are trying to manage this issue being as transparent as possible,” he said.