Russia’s interest in this matter is to keep Armenia isolated from the international community" />

Azerbaijan not the only one to be blamed for closure of the OSCE Office in Armenia

Russia’s interest in this matter is to keep Armenia isolated from the international community

Discussions on the recent closure ( of the OSCE Office in Yerevan are underway in Armenia.  Representatives of the country’s political and civil circles are trying to figure out how Azerbaijan managed to veto the extension of the OSCE Office mandate.

According to the OSCE Secretariat, the organization’s representative office in Yerevan will be closed in the coming months. Thus, the OSCE will no longer be represented in the South Caucasus, since Armenia is the only country in the region where the organization’s office has been functioning so far. The reason for closing the office was a decision on the non- extension of the organization’s mandate, initiated by the Azerbaijani side. As reported, representatives of the OSCE German and Austrian chairmanships spared no efforts to maintain the only platform in the region, but Azerbaijan objected it.

As Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, Country Director of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, told journalists at the meeting today, shutting down the OSCE Yerevan Office was the first step in Azerbaijan’s big game. He, however, didn’t specify what further actions, in his opinion, should be expected. Yet, he expressed confidence that closure of the representative office wouldn’t have a directly negative impact, since the OSCE-Armenia joint programs would be implemented by other means.

Ter-Gabrielyan believes that the Armenian side could have done more to prevent closure of the OSCE office, and certain steps should have been made for that purpose to avoid the threat.

The Foundation Director added that Russia also had certain interest in this process, that is, to keep Armenia in isolation from the international community. Armenia, however, hasn’t foreseen such a scenario, though Russia previously closed the OSCE office in Georgia.

Hovhannes Igityan, ex-chairman of the Armenian National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, believes that Azerbaijan should feel the consequences of closure of the OSCE Office in Yerevan. For that purpose, Armenia should start preparing for the next OSCE summit right now and make a statement condemning Azerbaijan’s ‘destructive moves’.

Edmon Marukyan, an opposition MP, shares the opinion that the OSCE-Armenia relations will not be affected from a political point of view. He, however, disagrees with the viewpoint that Armenia failed to make every effort to maintain the organization. In his words, Azerbaijan turned out to be more persistent and pushed the matter through.

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