Trend Commentator: Sargsyan's failed policy

Politics Materials 6 April 2010 19:02 (UTC +04:00)
The Armenian opposition is once again ready for rallies, and demanding snap elections, explaining its position as “in the country's best interests,” as the government has “lost control over all spheres of life."
Trend Commentator: Sargsyan's failed policy

Trend European Desk Commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva

The Armenian opposition is once again ready for rallies, and demanding snap elections, explaining its position as "in the country's best interests," as the government has "lost control over all spheres of life."

Whatever the opposition's real goal, there is a semblance of truth in their words. If last year Armenian foreign policy was marked by President Serzh Sargsyan's efforts to achieve progress in several regional processes, this year the authorities have faced serious stagnation. This stagnation is seen vividly in the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and, consequently, in the normalization of relations with Turkey.

Admittedly, the Armenian president, who is the first leader of the independent republic, and who apparently wanted to change the country's diplomatic course in the international arena, has had to make serious efforts to stall these processes. In late 2008, the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents signed the "Moscow Declaration," which underscored the need to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through political means, through the continuation of direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and with the mediation of Russia, the United States and France as OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. And indeed, last year, observers and mediators spoke of their progress and systematic meetings and negotiations on the settlement of Nagorno Karabakh with great satisfaction.

At the same time, Armenia has tried to overcome the age-old problems between Ankara and Yerevan - rupture of diplomatic relations, which has lasted 17 years. The rapid start of reconciliation, marked by the Turkish and Armenian presidents sitting side-by-side, watching football games in their respective capitals, culminated in the signing of the so-called "road map" protocols aiming to resolve their intergovernmental strife Oct. 10 in Zurich. According to the protocols, Turkey and Armenia would begin to reconcile their political differences and ultimately establish neighborly relations in full.

But all of these initiatives resulted in a fiasco on the Armenian political scene. It turned out that the Armenian president had taken the impossible burden on himself when he wasn't authorized to do so in the first place. Already, in late 2009, it became clear that Sargsyan's initiatives were collapsing. Moreover, it is obvious that Armenia's inability to remain constructive cannot be overcome by the good intentions of its opponents.

Recently, Armenia has done everything possible to prevent these processes from moving forward. According to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov, the Armenian side returned to discussing issues that were agreed upon two or three years ago at talks on Nagorno-Karabakh in Chisinau Oct. 9.

In early 2010, Armenia, in principle, stopped to make efforts to advance the Nagorno Karabakh issue. It disagrees with some points of an updated version of the basic document of negotiations - the "Madrid principles". Baku agrees with these points. The mediators prepared them, taking into account the views of both sides.

Armenia's relations with Turkey are not well either. It does not deal with the real normalization of relations. The fact that the Constitutional Court of Armenia considers all the international agreements of the Republic, before they are submitted for ratification to the Parliament. While considering the Armenian-Turkish protocols, it made some changes to the document concerning the so-called "genocide" of Armenians and the point about "Armenian" lands lost upon the Treaty of Kars.

It is not surprise that the Turkish side has responded quite sharply, and stated that the process of negotiations is unlikely to be continued with such reservations contrary to the spirit of the protocols.

There is strong feeling that Armenia is doing everything to win the process back. This turn of events is simple. The President of Armenia could not withstand the pressure of the global Armenian diaspora and internal forces which never cease to organize mass protests against any hint of improvement in the relations of Armenia with its neighbors - Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The main purpose of the Armenian lobby, which is the backbone of the diaspora in the United States, is the international recognition of "genocide" of Armenians in 1915, self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh, observation of the rights of the Armenian community in Georgia. The current Armenian government is under constant pressure of the diaspora, which significantly finances the fragile economy of the country demanding both ensuring of security and protection of national interests and security of Armenia, and preservation of the occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sargsyan has dashingly taken the course for reconciliation with Ankara, and negotiations with Azerbaijan. This is a desire to divert attention from his own internal problems and deficiencies that have arisen as a result of the unresolved political crisis in the country. It infuriated representatives of the lobby, whom the president can not ignore.

Moreover, the society of Armenian residents, together with the opposition and conservative political layers is not ready for peaceful coexistence with its neighbors.

Sargsyan was just afraid to aggravate the already precarious situation and unpopularity of the Armenian government which is the least legitimate throughout the new history. There is a result. The Armenian government has tried to do everything for negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkey not to come to a logical conclusion. Perhaps, the president of Armenia wanted to do better, but it turned out as always and even worse, because this country, which initially begins negotiations with enthusiasm, and then ceases all peace initiatives with the same enthusiasm, loses its confidence.