Tuvalu-Armenia: Two countries’ diplomatic relations anger Azerbaijan and Georgia

Tuvalu-Armenia: Two countries’ diplomatic relations anger Azerbaijan and Georgia

Photolure

Permanent representatives of Armenia and Tuvalu signing the joint statement in UN

On March 16 Armenia established diplomatic relations with Tuvalu – a Polynesian island in the Pacific Ocean with 26 square kilometers physical land and population of less than 13,000. However, despite its modest size this country is a UN member with a right to vote.

Tuvalu is part of the Commonwealth of Nations and has a British monarch as its ruler.

Before the establishment of Armenia-Tuvalu diplomatic relations the only connection between the two countries was registered in 2007 during the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly when the resolution on “The Situation in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories” providing for “immediate, total and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all of Azerbaijani Republic’s occupied territories” was adopted.

The Baku-submitted resolution was approved by 39 votes (including Tuvalu) and 100 abstentions.

It would seem that the relations between Armenia and Tuvalu were initially negative as Tuvalu supported Azerbaijan’s resolution. However, the events that followed the 2007 resolution have brought significant changes.

After the Russian-Georgian war in August, 2008, Moscow unilaterally recognized Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence, Tbilisi responded by tearing the diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared the conflict zones as occupied territories.

Following Russia’s example several other countries recognized Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence, and Tuvalu was among them.

That’s the reason this February Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili severed its diplomatic ties with Tuvalu and signed a decree terminating the protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Georgia and Tuvalu.

A month later Armenia and Tuvalu established diplomatic relations: Georgia took the news with extreme displeasure.

Russian Regnum news agency reported: “…the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Tuvalu will hardly contribute to further development of Armenian-Georgian relations.”

Even more than Georgia the news outraged Azerbaijan, where it was perceived in the highlight of UN-member Tuvalu’s prospective recognition of Nagorno Karabakh’s independence.

Ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party member, MP Aydin Mirzazade called diplomatic relations between Armenia and Tuvalu “ridiculous”.

He says that Tuvalu is an island that’s eager to recognize any state – even a non-existing one – for very little money.

“Apparently Tuvalu’s budget is replenished by such shady political ventures. That state openly stated the recognition of unrecognized regimes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and now Armenia is trying to take the same road,” he said.