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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Armenia’s PM Indicates Shift in Foreign Policy Away from Russia

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan indirectly criticized Russia on Sunday, suggesting that his nation’s current foreign security mechanisms are ineffective.

In a nationally televised address, Pashinyan’s remarks indicated a significant shift in Armenia’s foreign policy away from Moscow, where criticism of Armenia has been growing.

Pashinyan stated, “The external security systems in which Armenia is currently involved prove ineffective regarding safeguarding our security and national interests.” This statement came after Azerbaijan’s decisive victory in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a group dominated by Russia and composed of six post-Soviet states. Similar to NATO, this alliance pledges mutual defense in the event of an attack on any member.

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However, Russia, preoccupied with its conflict in Ukraine, declined to assist Armenia during the recent Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, citing Armenia’s recognition of the disputed region as part of Azerbaijan.

“It has become clear to all of us that the CSTO’s mechanisms and the tools of Armenian-Russian military-political cooperation are insufficient for ensuring Armenia’s external security,” Pashinyan observed. He emphasized revising and enhancing Armenia’s foreign and domestic security instruments in collaboration with willing partners.

Pashinyan also advocated for Armenia’s ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), a body Russia is not a party to. Notably, the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with his actions in Ukraine.

Pashinyan clarified, “This decision is not aimed at undermining the CSTO and Russia. Rather, it stems from our nation’s interests in external security, and making such a choice is our sovereign prerogative.”

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