Armenia not independent in relations with NATO
By Jamila Babayeva
Armenia continues to develop a strong pro-Russian foreign policy, with the positions of Russia-led economic and military organizations changing its priorities.
Since the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) adopted a decision to suspend cooperation with NATO as a result of confrontations over Ukraine on April 24, Armenia has been put in a difficult situation.
The decision will lead to new developments in Armenia-NATO relations, because Armenia is a member of the CSTO the current chair of which is Russia, Armenia's main strategic partner.
It seems Armenia will not be interested in taking any initiative to cooperate with NATO, because it lacks an independent foreign policy. Armenia will hardly be able to determine its position over NATO, as well as towards the EU.
The relations between Armenia and NATO go back to 1992, and the main areas of cooperation between the two are security, defense, and military issues, public information, science, environment, democratic reforms, etc.
The German newspaper Der Spiegel recently reported that NATO is planning to increase its cooperation with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova as a result of the crisis in Ukraine.
Commenting on NATO's possible plans, Yerevan said Armenia does not intend to expand or change the framework of cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance. But Yerevan is calling its relations with NATO 'special' now, with Foreign Ministry's spokesman Tigran Balayan telling local media that the two have their own format of cooperation, which is going on.
Earlier, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan expressed his satisfaction over the country's relations with NATO.
"Our relations with NATO are constant," he said. "We remain committed to bilateral cooperation in the agreed areas. We will fully complete those measures."
These statements confirm that Yerevan has become indecisive after the CSTO's decision to suspend cooperation with NATO.
Local political experts believe that Armenia should not take any initiative in this difficult situation, and must wait so that it will not be in any unpleasant situation later on.
"Armenia has not stated its position on any issues so far, and will not do so now," experts stressed. "Armenia can show its position towards its relations with the NATO only following Russia's pressure."
Yerevan still believes that a pro-Russian position is the most efficient course of action for the country. Armenia is unable commit itself to cooperation with international organizations, because Yerevan's foreign policy priorities are dictated by Russia.