Pashinyan and NATO

Pashinyan and NATO

Last week, the new Armenian people's prime minister visited Brussels for acquaintance, and it was not some ordinary event, but the NATO summit, where he talked about democracy a lot. Opponents immediately noticed that by doing such statements, Pashinyan pursues the goal of legitimizing his accession to power through a coup d'état, and if the head of the Cabinet wants to prove his commitment to democracy and human rights, then Armenia must observe international obligations, withdraw its troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, and not to hamper the return of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons subjected to ethnic cleansing to native lands.

Having received an invitation to the summit of the alliance, Pashinyan promised to think it over and attend it only if he is satisfied with the draft final resolution of the summit. The resolution was adopted following the summit, in which the alliance expressed support for the territorial integrity of the South Caucasus countries, and hence Azerbaijan, the territorial integrity of which was violated by Armenia. Nevertheless, Pashinyan was not embarrassed by this fact, as well as by the fact that Armenia, as a CSTO member (unlike Georgia and Azerbaijan), looked a bit strange when attended the North Atlantic Alliance summit. Armenia is NATO partner country and participates in its two programs - in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Yerevan signed an individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO in 2005.

One way or another, using the opportunity, Pashinyan met in Brussels with the Prime Ministers of Greece, Belgium, Macedonia, Spain and Italy, Chancellor of Germany, Presidents of France, Lithuania, Canada, Ukraine, Slovakia and Afghanistan and also with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in turn, confirmed his participation in the 17th Francophonie Summit in Yerevan and noted that he visited Armenia in 1988 with his father, who was prime minister back then. Emmanuel Macron, Petro Poroshenko and Alexis Tsipras invited Pashinyan to France, Ukraine and Greece, respectively.

Pashinyan's speech at the main for him summit's event - dedicated to Afghanistan - sounded somewhat cynical. He spoke about the importance of international security issues and the need to preserve a collective approach to this issue, noted that all those present in Brussels are united by strong faith and readiness to bring peace, security and stability. These words made us think that if the leadership of Armenia adhered to such principles not only with regard to Afghanistan, but also with respect to their own region, everyone would be much more grateful to them.

Pashinyan admitted that the topic of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is incompatible with the format of the Afghan discussion, since NATO does not play any role in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, but nevertheless he "took a shot" at Azerbaijan, accusing it of "violating ceasefire and provocations,"as well as doubted Baku's commitment to the peace process.

At meetings with EU leaders - Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Federica Mogherini - Pashinyan argued that Armenia is loyal to the negotiation process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. Pashinyan also spoke to the experts of the Carnegie Europe research center. Talking about his successes, he noted that "there is no geopolitical context in the revolution, and the new government does not plan any major foreign policy changes or fundamental swings."

Commenting on Pashinyan's statements in Brussels, Baku noted that instead of taking constructive steps towards a negotiated settlement of the conflict, try to escalate the situation by setting conditions for negotiations, illegally visiting the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, deploying additional troops in the occupied lands, and taking other adventurous steps. 

It did not take long to see the confirmation of these words - on the morning of June 16 Pashinyan visited occupied Karabakh, where, according to the press service of the prime minister, "new technologies for designing and strengthening infrastructures and reliable protection" were presented to him. Pashinyan also visited the unrecognized NKR immediately after being elected the prime minster. Then he said that he sees NKR as a party to the conflict, which, according to Pashinyan, should participate in the negotiations with Baku.

Returning to Brussels, we recall that Pashinyan promised to continue cooperation with NATO within the framework of peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Commenting on this position of Yerevan, Secretary of the Armenia's National Security council Armen Grigoryan told Kommersant: "Azerbaijani officers are trained in Turkey. We want to understand this structure, understand how the Azerbaijani army works."

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