PACE head: Armenia does not have a stance on Russian-Azerbaijani allied cooperation declaration
Armenia and signing of Armenian-Azerbaijani declaration
Armenia is neither surprised by the signing of the Russian-Azerbaijani declaration on allied cooperation, nor holds a strong position on it, said member of the ruling Civil Contract party and the head of the Armenian delegations in PACE Eduard Aghajanyan.
A week has passed since the signing of declaration on allied cooperation by by the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, however, Armenian authorities have not yet issued a comment on this matter. Meanwhile, Armenian society has a lot of questions – on social media, users are discussing the implications of Russia’s ( Armenia’s strategic ally) deepening of ties with a state with which Armenia is still far from friendly.
What Russia and Azerbaijan agreed on, Yerevan’s “late reaction” to the deepening of cooperation between Moscow and Baku, the attitude of the local opposition to this and expert opinion below.
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Over 40 clauses of declaration
The document was signed on February 22 in Moscow. The purpose of the declaration signed by Putin and Aliyev is, among other things, the deepening of military cooperation. The Kremlin believes that this “will bring relations between Russia and Azerbaijan to an allied level”.
The document itself, in particular, states: “In order to ensure security, maintain peace and stability, Russia and Azerbaijan may consider the possibility of providing each other with military assistance on the basis of the UN Charter, separate international treaties and taking into account the existing international legal obligations of each of the parties”.
The document also touches upon other aspects of military cooperation, including the holding of joint activities for operational and combat training, equipping with modern weapons and military equipment.
The President of Russia assessed the signing of the declaration as a new stage in the development of relations with Baku. The President of Azerbaijan also positively assessed the document.
Armenian MOFA’s Press Secretary response
The Armenian authorities have not officially reacted to this situation. The vice-speaker of the parliament Hakob Arshakyan, in response to the question of the deputies, said that “the text of the declaration should be studied carefully”, and assured that “the reaction will not be postponed”. A week has already passed, but there has been no official response yet.
At this moment, there has only been the answer of the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vahan Hunanyan:
“The interstate allied cooperation that has developed between Armenia and Russia, based on the centuries-old friendship of peoples, is self-sufficient in nature and is in no way conditioned by relations with third countries, which the parties do not develop to the detriment of the Armenian-Russian union. This is also evidenced by history and signed documents.
Yerevan and Moscow, at various levels, including high and highest, are consistently taking steps to expand relations both in bilateral and multilateral formats, aimed at developing the two countries in conditions of guaranteed security. We hope that the declaration signed in Moscow on February 22 this year will create additional opportunities for the implementation of the provisions of the three statements adopted by the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, which can also contribute to a long-term and comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship”.
This point of view is shared by the parliamentary majority of Armenia. In an interview with journalists on March 1, Eduard Aghajanyan, a member of the Civil Contract faction, stated:
“In fact, this agreement confirms the reality that has existed for many years in the context of Russian-Azerbaijani relations. Since this is not new to us, Armenia has no position on this issue”.
Russia’s response: “Declaration will not create problems with Armenia”
The declaration signed by Moscow and Baku does not create any problems for Russia’s allied relations with Armenia, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing. She recalled that the contractual framework between Armenia and the Russian Federation includes almost 200 documents, and stressed that Russia will fulfill all obligations to its longtime ally․
She also stated that “the declaration signed with Baku will strengthen the trilateral cooperation between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia”, which, in turn, will contribute to strengthening regional security.
Armenian opposition accuses authorities of weaknesses
Former authorities of Armenia, who are now acting as an irreconcilable opposition, immediately responded to the signing of the declaration. The executive body of the Republican Party of Armenia, led by Serzh Sargsyan, has issued a statement:
“When your only ally becomes an ally of your enemy, it is, first of all, the result of your own weakness, the mistakes you made, your military-political failure, your geopolitical bankruptcy”, the RPA statement says.
It emphasizes that relations with Russia should be built in a new quality, content and on fair terms. The Republicans believe that this “is a vital necessity for the future of Armenia and Artsakh”, but this work will have to be carried out by the future authorities of the country.
Russia’s goal is to restore its influence in the post-Soviet space, says Benyamin Poghosyan, director of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies. And the signing of the Russian-Azerbaijani agreement, by and large, is not connected either with Armenia or with its foreign policy.
According to the political scientist, Russia believes that by signing the declaration, they are strengthening their positions in Azerbaijan.
“After the war, Russia has a strong lever of influence on Azerbaijan. These are Russian troops stationed in Artsakh. Now soft means of influence have been added to this – allied cooperation, economic relations, etc.
Benyamin Poghosyan does not think that “Russia is sacrificing the interests of Armenia”, because Russia and Azerbaijan signed not an agreement, but only a declaration.
At the same time, the political scientist emphasizes that the policy pursued by Armenia and the signed declaration do not contradict each other:
“If we look at Armenia’s policy towards Azerbaijan after the war, which suggests that we need to improve relations with Azerbaijan, delimit borders, demarcate, sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan, open roads, then I don’t see any contradiction between Armenia’s regional policy and points of the declaration signed by Russia and Azerbaijan”.
The expert also addresses paragraph of the document, which states that Russia and Azerbaijan are building their relations on the basis of “territorial integrity and inviolability of the state borders of the two countries”:
“Russia tells Azerbaijan that it de jure recognizes the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region as part of Azerbaijan, which means the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within the borders of Soviet Azerbaijan. But Azerbaijan at the same time agrees that a small part of Nagorno-Karabakh, three thousand square meters, remaining under the control of the Armenian side, will be de facto under the influence of Russia, that is, Azerbaijan recognizes that this territory is not under its control”.