"We are not satisfied with many things" - Armenian Foreign Minister on relations with Russia
On relations with Russia
“We are not satisfied with a lot of things, a lot of things surprise us. As far as I understand, the perception of the situation in the Russian Federation is the same,” Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said on the Armenian-Russian relations.
According to him, the existence of problems in the relations is obvious. Armenia’s position is reduced “to constructive discussion and smoothing of problems,” but the Armenian minister expects results only in case of “bilateral work.”
Mirzoyan emphasized that Yerevan will continue cooperation with France and the United States, which is badly perceived in Russia, judging by recent reports from the Russian Federation.
The Foreign Minister’s statements were made in the parliament during preliminary discussion of the state budget for 2024. He also touched upon the normalization of relations with Turkey, the invasion of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces into the territory of Armenia and the acquisition of defensive weapons for the Armenian army.
“About 200 square kilometers of Armenia’s territory is under the control of Azerbaijan”
When asked by MPs “how many square kilometers of Armenia’s territory are occupied by Azerbaijan”, the Minister replied:
“I know about almost 200 square kilometers of the territory of the Republic of Armenia, which is now under the control of Azerbaijani forces.”
Mirzoyan emphasized that there are territories under the control of Azerbaijan since the 1990s, as well as “fresh examples”, namely the invasion of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces into the sovereign territory of Armenia in May 2021 and September 2022.
‘Good news’ expected on opening border with Turkey
The Armenian Foreign Minister recalled that he recently met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Tehran within the framework of the “3+3” format meeting and earlier discussed the normalization of relations between the two countries with former Minister Cavusoglu. He emphasized that the leaders of Armenia and Turkey appointed special representatives to discuss the bilateral agenda at the end of 2021.
“The process of settling relations between the Republic of Armenia and Turkey is very important for us,” Mirzoyan said.
He expects “good news” regarding the opening of the land border between Armenia and Turkey for diplomatic passport holders and third-country nationals in the near future.
Special Representatives of the two countries, Ruben Rubinyan and Serdar Kılıç, reached this agreement in July 2022. They talked about its realization “as soon as possible”, but no practical steps have been taken in this direction until now.
Weapons procured from various countries
A deputy from the opposition Hayastan faction Kristine Vardanyan said during discussions in parliament that “the current government is not succeeding in acquiring weapons.” To which Mirzoyan responded:
“We manage to acquire weapons from many more countries than your political party [while in power] would dare or dream of being able to achieve such deals even in its wildest dreams.”
Mirzoyan assured that Armenia does not pursue “offensive goals” and the acquisition of defensive weapons is the sovereign right of every country.
“We would have imported much more if there were no logistical problems. It is no secret that there are such problems.”
“Identifying new areas for cooperation with the EU”
The minister talked about new areas of cooperation with the EU, in particular, “political and security dialog”. He reminded that the issue of visa regime liberalization is also under discussion.
He announced that Armenia will continue deepening relations with the European Union. In this context he once again emphasized the role of the civilian observer mission in establishing stability on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Armenia to open diplomatic missions in Seoul and Luxembourg
According to Mirzoyan, partnership relations with Luxembourg have been established for a long time, in connection with which it is planned to open a diplomatic mission. Armenia also intends to have a representative office in Korea, in Seoul. Mirzoyan said that Korea recently sent an official appeal on its intention to open an embassy in Yerevan in the first half of 2024.
“We believe that Armenian-Korean relations have great potential. And mutual opening of embassies in the two capitals will contribute to its realization,” he said.
On relations with Russia