Armenia thinks that Azerbaijan’s accession to the emerging Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) would be against its interests, but does not consider such an option to be realistic, a senior lawmaker in Yerevan said on Wednesday.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) Artak Zakarian, the head of the Armenian parliament’s committee on foreign affairs, said: “Based on my personal analyses I find that Azerbaijan’s membership in the Union is inexpedient. The EEU is an economic union, while Azerbaijan has declared itself to be a self-sufficient economy. Besides, in the case with Azerbaijan such membership would create bigger problems in the foreign policy sphere.”
Armenia -- Artak Zakarian, (R) MP from the ruling Republican Party at a press briefing in the National Assembly, 03Jun2013
As Armenia prepares to sign a treaty later this year on formally acceding to the Union now embracing Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, a number of senior Russian officials, including Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukayev, presidential advisor Sergey Glazev and others, have spoken about the expedience of Azerbaijan’s joining the Moscow-initiated integration project.
“Azerbaijan is a major partner of Russia and the economic and military-political stability in the Caucasus depends on it. Therefore, full integration of the Azerbaijani Republic has a great importance for us,” Glazev said in a June 10 edition of the Vestnik Kavkaza publication.
“Considering the complex nature of the relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it is very important for us that Azerbaijan should also fully participate in this Eurasian integration,” President Vladimir Putin’s advisor added.
Yet, Zakaryan stressed that he does not consider the prospect of Azerbaijan’s membership in the EEU to be real. “And there is no official information on this account [Azerbaijan’s membership],” he said.
To the question of whether he did not see any similarities with 1920 when Bolshevik Russia conquered the short-lived democratic Armenian and Azerbaijani republics, forcing them to become part of the emerging Soviet Union, after which Nagorno-Karabakh became part of Soviet Azerbaijan, the lawmaker representing the ruling Republican Party of Armenia said: “The problems are a little different, the situations are a little different. I don’t consider it right today to speak about the repetition of history and to try to draw conclusions in this context. On the contrary, any new situation brings with it new opportunities.”
Still, Zakarian emphasized that due to its geographical location and because of the policies being carried out by its neighbors Turkey and Azerbaijan, Armenia at all times should carry out a ‘diversified’ foreign policy.
“I believe that due to the correlation of forces and political presences here the South Caucasus needs to have a balanced policy, and Armenia is the one that conducts this balanced policy. We will try to continue that also in the future, because only in that case will it be possible to ensure long-term stability and peace in the South Caucasus,” the Armenian lawmaker concluded.