Members of the European Parliament have become less sympathetic to the Armenian position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since Armenia unexpectedly decided to join a Russian-led customs union, lawmakers in Yerevan claimed on Monday.
They said the shift in their attitudes was exposed at a session of a joint commission of European Union and Armenian parliamentarians held in Strasbourg last week.
The commission failed to adopt a concluding statement on the meeting for the first time during its more than decade-long existence. Its Armenian members attribute this to disagreements over references to the unresolved Karabakh conflict in the would-be text. They claim that their European colleagues pushed for wording that would blame the Armenian side for the lack of progress in the peace process.
“They said that for the last five years we have not done anything [for peace,] or made any unilateral concessions,” one of them, Tevan Poghosian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He said some members of the EU legislature also called for France to be replaced by the EU as one of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
“They didn’t want to hear our answers, saying that they are running late for another, more important meeting,” complained Poghosian, who represents the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party in Armenia’s National Assembly.
Another Armenian opposition member of the commission, Aghvan Vartanian, said a joint statement could have been agreed upon if Samvel Farmanian, the panel’s Armenian co-chairman, had been more cooperative during the Strasbourg session. Vartanian told Yerkir.am at the weekend that only one of the three Karabakh-related provisions proposed by EU parliamentarians was unacceptable to Armenia and that it could have been “neutralized.”
Vartanian declined to comment further when contacted by RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Monday. Farmanian, who is a member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), also declined a comment, saying that he will hold a news conference soon.
Writing on his Facebook page late last week, Farmanian linked the alleged anti-Armenian tilt in European parliamentarians’ views with President Serzh Sarkisian’s unexpected decision last year to make Armenia part of the Russian-led union.
Sarkisian’s foreign policy U-turn precluded the signing of a far-reaching Association Agreement between the EU and Armenia. The two sides had spent three years negotiating the deal and were due to finalize it in November 2013.