Armenia is going to abstain during the vote on the draft resolution on Crimea which is to take place at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, a source at the Armenian Foreign Ministry said.
According to Reuters, Ukraine has circulated a draft resolution to the U.N. General Assembly that would declare invalid Crimea’s March 16 referendum. The new text, which U.N. diplomats said Ukraine distributed to the 193-nation assembly over the weekend, dismisses the referendum as “having no validity, (and) cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the City of Sevastopol.”
It is noteworthy that in their telephone conversation on March 19, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin were quoted as stating that the referendum in Crimea “constitutes another case of exercise of peoples’ right to self-determination via free expression of will.” Ukraine construed that statement as Armenia’s recognition of Russia’s annexation of what official Kyiv still considers to be Ukrainian territory. Last week Ukraine officially recalled its ambassador from Armenia, warning of serious damage to bilateral ties.
Meanwhile, a vote is also due to be held at the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on two resolutions implying sanctions against Russia in the context of Crimea’s annexation. Head of the Armenian delegation to the PACE David Harutiunian said the members of the Armenian delegation could have different positions. “I can speak for myself and say that I am against the application of sanctions. I will vote against this initiative rather than abstain,” said Harutiunian, a member of Armenia’s ruling Republican Party.
Armen Rustamian, another delegation member representing the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, also spoke against the initiatives. “It simply means giving up on dialogue, which is much more important today in order to achieve solutions to problems in the political domain. But sanctions will, on the contrary, push Russia towards seclusion.”
Another opposition member of the delegation, Levon Zurabian, of the Armenian National Congress, refrained from commenting on the matter. Naira Zohrabian, representing the Prosperous Armenia Party, also did not reveal how she is going to vote. “Let’s see what final form the resolution will have when it is put to the vote,” the lawmaker said.