Yerevan's foreign policy only possible if Armenia accepts it needs to make peace with Azerbaijan - Svante Cornell

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 22 October 2020 17:52 (UTC +04:00)
Yerevan's foreign policy only possible if Armenia accepts it needs to make peace with Azerbaijan - Svante Cornell

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 22

By Nargiz Sadikhova - Trend:

Armenian appeal to NATO to help resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict seems a sign of desperation, and a “knee-jerk” reaction to the failure of Armenia to obtain Russian support for its continued occupation of Azerbaijani territories, Svante E. Cornell, Director of the Institute for Security and Development Policy, and one of its co-founders, told Trend.

“It may be intended as an appeal to an organization that could have influence on Turkey, but that misses the point that this conflict is not about Turkey. It may also be intended to send a signal to Moscow that Armenia would reconsider its geopolitical orientation if Russia does not come to its assistance; but if so, it is probably a relatively empty threat, because of the level of Russian political, economic, and informational influence over Armenia," he said.

"Of course, the recent events have led to a serious crisis for Armenia, as it had shown the mistake Armenia made in making itself reliant on a foreign power not only for its own security, but for the security of its control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent Azerbaijani territories,” he said.

Cornell noted that however this current war ends, it is clear that Armenian politicians and Armenian society must revise some of the basic assumptions of Armenian foreign policy.

“It should be obvious that the model that has guided Armenia’s foreign relations for three decades has reached a dead end, and a fundamental rethink is necessary. Armenian-Russian relations will never be the same, but this does not mean that Armenia can suddenly turn around and seek western protection,” Cornell added.

First, he said, Russian influence in Armenia is too strong to make that a realistic step.

"Second, while many Western countries have sympathy for Armenia, Georgia’s experience has shown that few will be willing to take security risks in the south Caucasus. Third, Turkey is a member of NATO and would obviously reject any such steps on NATO’s part. And fourth, most NATO members understand the geostrategic importance of Azerbaijan, and would therefore not be interested in closer relations with Armenia," he explained.

“In the final analysis, the problem for Yerevan is that a rethink of its foreign policy will only be possible if Armenia accepts that it needs to make peace with Azerbaijan to build a new foreign policy based on its own sovereignty and independence rather than on Russian dependence. This will be hard for Armenian society to accept, but the recent conflict has shown there is no alternative,” he added.