A new stage of Armenian-British cooperation. What is behind it?
New stage of Armenian-British relations
Minister of State of the United Kingdom for Europe Leo Docherty is in Yerevan on a regional visit, but a statement from the British Embassy emphasizes that the minister’s visit to Armenia is intended to continue “the strategic dialogue with Armenia that took place last week in London.”
According to some Armenian experts, this proves that Armenia is a “strategic direction” for the West. Others believe that Britain’s role in the South Caucasus is actually aimed at nullifying Russia’s influence, including resolving the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and completing the peace process.
The British minister arrived in Yerevan immediately after the end of the visit of Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan to London. Last week, the Armenian Embassy moved to a new building in London. Mirzoyan stated: “Together with the new building, we are also laying a new foundation for deepening our relations.” The parties announced the start of a “strategic dialogue.”
- “Take aid to Armenia off the agenda” – Yerevan’s appeal to the CSTO
- Borrel threatened Baku with “serious consequences”. Opinion on the EU position
- “The enclaves may become a pretext for Baku’s next attack” – Armenian political scientist
“Great Britain is a reliable partner”
Just before his visit, Docherty stated:
“The South Caucasus faces serious security challenges that threaten the stability of the region – both internal and emanating from neighboring countries. In an unstable region, the UK is a trusted partner for reform, peace and stability.”
The British Embassy said that during the minister’s visit the democratic reform agenda in Armenia will be discussed, as well as the need for direct talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The region on Russia’s southern border, according to the embassy text, “remains vulnerable to external interference.” And the minister will propose that Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi “expand trade and security cooperation to diversify the economy and reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia.”
“Armenian-British cooperation has great potential”
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan talked about this with Minister for European Affairs Leo Docherty. He said that mutual visits will contribute to more successful realization of the cooperation potential.
The Prime Minister’s Office reports that Docherty emphasized Britain’s interest in deepening cooperation with Armenia. The progress of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process was also discussed.
The Secretary of the Armenian Security Council also received the British Minister. Armen Grigoryan and Leo Docherty discussed “opportunities for cooperation in the security sphere”.
According to political scientist Gurgen Simonyan, “the West is beginning to perceive Armenia as a strategic destination”. He suggests considering the strengthening of relations with the UK among other developments, recalling Armenia’s deepening cooperation with France and Germany.
“The beginning of strategic relations between Armenia and the UK, as well as the opening of the RA Embassy in London, are links in a chain reflecting the development of relations,” he said.
Meanwhile, political observer Hakob Badalyan believes that the activation of British policy in the South Caucasus is only aimed at neutralizing Russia’s influence:
“The main emphasis will be on the promotion and completion of the Armenian-Azerbaijani ‘peace process’ on Western platforms, which will allow building the next stage of weakening or practically nullifying Russia’s influence.”
According to him, Azerbaijan now refuses not Western platforms and mediation, but negotiations with Armenia, and it will behave this way until Yerevan agrees to its terms:
“An attempt is being made to persuade Armenia to accept them. Britain, of course, has a certain influence on Azerbaijan in the form of tens and hundreds of billions invested in the Azerbaijani economy. But the question is whether there is a motivation to influence Azerbaijan and whether there is a real possibility of such influence.”
Badalyan believes that “the logic of the British game” is different, the emphasis is on providing Armenia with “certain bonus promises” so that Yerevan agrees to the idea of a new deal with Azerbaijan.
New stage of Armenian-British relations