By Hrach Melkumian
Armenia’s foreign ministry marked on Saturday the tenth anniversary of its creation by the country’s first post-Communist government in the closing days of the Soviet Union. Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and other top diplomats opened an arts exhibition dedicated to the jubilee in the ministry building in Yerevan.
“Despite all the ups and downs, the past ten years have been a success for our foreign policy,” Oskanian declared on Friday after a meeting with the heads of some 30 Armenian diplomatic missions abroad.
“Armenia’s international standing is high, and it is considered a reliable partner by Russia, the United States, the European Union and China,” he said, seeking to prove that Yerevan’s adherence to the principle of “complementarism” in the international arena has been justified. That principle holds that Yerevan can have a simultaneously good rapport with Russia, the West and other major international players.
One of Oskanian’s predecessors, Vahan Papazian, acknowledged that Armenian foreign policy has undergone no radical change since the forced resignation of former president Levon Ter-Petrossian in February 1998. But he questioned the current authorities’ commitment to the normalization of relations with all of Armenia’s neighbors, including Turkey and Azerbaijan. Papazian, who served as foreign minister in the Ter-Petrossian administration from 1993-96, complained that President Robert Kocharian’s foreign policy has “to a certain extent” been under the influence of the nationalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).