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”.
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).
The two-day visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov due to start on April 21 will come amid speculation of a new plan by Moscow to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
A possible meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno Karabakh with the participation of the foreign ministers of Russia, the United States and France has already been confirmed by Moscow. The other OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries have at least not denied such an opportunity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Armenian government has made its first serious bid for a large-scale anti-corruption and anti-trust campaign by announcing cost-cutting measures related to administrative bodies.
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