Criticism has been leveled in Armenia at foreign policy decision-makers who are blamed for being unable to convert the results of military operations into diplomatic achievements. The main gripe concerns an excessively cautious attitude of Armenian diplomacy which does not take initiatives, while only feebly reacting to foreign-policy trends.
After participating in the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the European People’s Party in Luxembourg on May 30, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan the next day went to Astana, Kazakhstan, where a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) took place.
When Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan praised the fighting spirit of Armenian soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh last weekend, he said that no one of them would flee the battlefield or retreat in the face of Azerbaijani aggression earlier this month, fighting “till the last bullet”.
After the four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh in early April calls for bringing those responsible for the situation to justice have been voiced more vigorously in Armenia. The matter concerns not only the level of preparedness of the army, but also allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the country as a whole. More than nine dozen Armenian soldiers were killed in the April 2-5 clashes with Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and critics claim Armenians would have fewer casualties had proper armaments been purchased and deployed.
The meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents that took place in Vienna, Austria, on May 16 in the presence of the heads of the foreign policy departments of the United States, Russia and France, elicited mixed reactions in the two South Caucasus countries.
Last week was relatively quiet on the Nagorno Karabakh front as the military said there were fewer shots and less intensity of fire at the line of contact and along the restive Armenian-Azerbaijani border. At the same time, calls for peace talks after last month’s deadly fighting in Karabakh were made at the diplomatic front.
Despite the diplomatic row between Germany and Turkey caused by the Bundestag’s adoption of a resolution formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire and the German responsibility for this crime, Berlin and Ankara are likely to remain allies, the difference being that Germany will strengthen its positions in its future negotiations with Turkey over migrants and other issues of the European agenda.
As Armenia marked May 9, the 71st anniversary of allied victory in World War II in Europe and the 24th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war (1992-1994), there was no shortage of statements from officials related to the recent escalation of fighting in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict zone.
Last week, the Armenian National Assembly’s Foreign Relations Commission considered two major drafts – the agreement on creating a joint Armenian-Russian air defense system and the motion for the start of procedures to quit the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
A serious shift has taken place in the Karabakh conflict settlement process after last week’s visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – proposals for a final settlement have been postponed, and now only measures to strengthen the ceasefire are being discussed.
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