EaP Results Become More Visible to the Citizens
It is important to note that if initially the EU was guided by a single mechanism for building cooperation with all six EaP countries, then soon they realized that this is inefficient.
It is important to note that if initially the EU was guided by a single mechanism for building cooperation with all six EaP countries, then soon they realized that this is inefficient.
In April elections, the opposition of Azerbaijan will participate almost spontaneously, and observers will not have legal grounds for proving even the most obvious restrictions.
Moreover, in an answer to the RA President's calls to abandon the ambitious demands, Baku declared that "the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh can enjoy self-determination within Azerbaijan." It also reaffirmed its demands for withdrawing Armenian troops from Artsakh as the first step. This is nothing more than an ambitious demand and destructiveness.
the Ministers have in general agreed on the extension of the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office presented by the Co-Chairs. And this means that the mediators endeavor to achieve tangible results in at least one of the agreements reached in Vienna and St. Petersburg
In order for the agreement to enter into force and all sides to fulfill their obligations, the agreement must be ratified both by the parliaments of 28 EU member states and the European Parliament.
Summing up, we can state that 2017, in general, passed in a rather tense atmosphere, which was on one hand conditioned by Azerbaijani stance to violate the agreements aimed at strengthening ceasefire regime, on the other hand by the regular increase of tension on the border at the beginning of the year.
This year, by signing the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU, Armenia has finally implemented its "both and" policy.
Not only Armenia but also EAEU partner countries will do their best to take maximum advantage of this opportunity.
Besides, this can become a precedent for the future cooperation of Kiev and Moscow as the attempt is made to separate a number political disagreements from humanitarian issues. This can later be also used for other conflicts.
Summarizing, it can be mentioned that in some terms very general and compromising formulations were chosen in the Brussels Declaration. As for Armenia, in general, the document reflects a positive assessment of the great work done, overcoming the many uncertainties and the desire of both the EU and Armenia to move forward.
Thus, the cooperation with Moldova can have its contribution to strengthening the position and role of Armenia in the EAEU. In parallel, it will build bridges between the European and Eurasian unions.
After the talks, Sargsyan responded to Aliyev, stressing that the only solution for us is that Karabakh be outside Azerbaijan and no Armenian leader will ever adopt another decision. In this way Sargsyan made it clear that Armenia's constructiveness and restraint behavior in the negotiation process should not be misinterpreted by Aliyev clan.
From the very start of this process it was predictable that the final aim of Catalonia is not that much independence, but getting higher degree of autonomy. In this regard the passions were more aggravated by the tough reaction of the official Madrid on holding a referendum and the use of violence.
The struggle for independence of Catalonia contains several important components.
In his speech, the President stated that the Karabakh issue is, first and foremost, a human rights issue and should be solved on the basis of respect for the fundamental human rights, that is, the realization of the right to self-determination and the security of the Artsakh people, as all other problems are derivative and secondary.
At the same time, taking into consideration the complicated relations between Turkey and the EU and the slightest possibility of getting support from Ankara, in the current situation, Baku has to "make concessions" not to create new problems for itself and not to exacerbate international pressure.
We can state that currently the mediators take steps to restart the negotiation process and its basis, while the US, in its turn makes active efforts.
The manipulation of the issue of the Armenian Genocide, as a tool of political pressure or black-mail against Turkey is unacceptable, especially by Israel.
The people of Artsakh organizes its life according to the threats and needs, that it faces, at the same time being condemned to the democratic values. This is the most important factor, on one side for the people of Artsakh, on the other side for preventing and steps back in conflict settlement process.
In this context, it would be logical, that in response to the attampts of Azerbaijan to avoid Vienna and St.Petersburg agreements, the Co-Chairs of the OSCE MG raised an issue of widening the contacts with Artsakh, for example, by establishing the Co-Chairs’ office in Stepanakert.
This process is important not only in the context of PACE. Logically, this must be a signal for European MPs in different international organisations, who will avoid deals with Azerbaijan not to put their reputation under risk.
Another issue is that the statement does not mention the loss of life recorded during their visit, and most importantly, the wording of the criticism is mild, with no clear-cut measures.
And now the government of Turkey announces, that it can easily give up its plans for becoming an EU member state. The prosecutions in that country, pressure on journalists, expansion of Erdogan's powers and strengthening of Islamic values show that Turkey is really going away from the European values, at the same time issuing ultimatums to Brussels.
It is quite interesting that the labor party has considerably improved its position – a party, which did not use the motto "not to Brexit", but they are more prone to soft Brexit.
Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani side represents this as a violation of Azerbaijan's airspace, continuing the scandal raised around using the airport in Stepanakert.
Peace cannot be presented as a concession to Artsakh and Armenia, as it is equally important for all countries of the region and first of all for all people.
The most appropriate thing to do in this situation will be to sign a new trilateral agreement of non-use of force and threat of force on the basis of 1994 Agreement.
In fact, today Northern Ireland does not have a clear desire to leave the United Kingdom and unite with the Republic of Ireland, but rather wants to get guarantees that in case of such a desire it can immediately be included in the European Union, bypassing the long pre-membership process.
Another question is whether by succeeding in a formal way, Azerbaijan will de-facto succeed. Today the OSCE leadership, the Presidency discuss issues of maintaining all aspects of cooperation on security in the South Caucasus and on finding alternative ways of engagement.
The British people has already answered this question during last elections and referendum, and today May has the necessary number of supporters in the parliament to put forward the process of Brexit. In this context the decision of May seems quite strange.
It can be noted that two of the four political forces represented in the parliament clearly emphasize the importance of developing cooperation with both the Eurasian Union and the European Union. One of the other two forces also supports the "and-and" policy, since at the moment it is the best one in terms of the interests of Armenia.
Moldova is the first country, that has already signed the Association Agreement and DCFTA and at the same time wishes to cooperate with the EAEU. In fact, Chisinau followed the example of Armenia – the policy of "and-and".
By pre-signing and later by signing the Agreement, Armenia fixed its commitment to the European values, to its will for carrying out reforms in the country.
On the other hand, the President of Armenia, in turn, confirmed Armenia's readiness to contribute to the cooperation between the EAEU and the EU.
EU leaders, including Donald Tusk, stressed in their statements that Armenia is an important partner for the EU, and they are ready to promote the deepening of the reform.
According to the expert, the main message of the Armenian President's visit to Brussels was the effective application of the "and-and" policy. "European leaders' statements suggest that the EU gives great importance to the cooperation with Armenia and intends to develop effective relations with Armenia."
In particular, reference was made to Azerbaijan's recent statements on the status quo and it was specified that there is only one way to change the status quo, it is the recognition of self-determination of Artsakh people.
It’s not excluded, that if this policy of Azerbaijan continues, one day Baku can decide “to punish” also Armenia and demand to arrest and send to Baku all Armenians, who have visited NKR. What will then happen?
Constitutional reforms, as well as the new Electoral Code agreed and adopted with the dialogue of the opposition and the civil society is a "step forward" in the democratization process.
Thus it turns out that now all those countries are getting united that have strained relations with Brussels, and at the same time, those countries that play an important role for the EU in economic and political spheres and in security matters.
Given the EU's position on the Scottish independence referendum, it can be assumed that the Brussels will avoid to directly supporting Edinburg. However, it is not excluded that Scotland will play its role in "punishing" Britain.
At the same time on certain issues Turkey is not ready to compromise and insists on the need of its military presence (even with small number) on the island, which makes difficulties in reaching an agreement. This, most probably, at the current stage of the negotiations is the most difficult issue, over which Greece is not ready to compromise.
The main drawbacks of the statement are perhaps again the non-addressed calls, the principle of equalization of the Co-Chairs.
In parallel to the political component, the negotiations on the economic component of the new framework agreement are also going on.
The so called "Lavrov plan" was also widely discussed, which allegedly assumes concession of 5 regions to Azerbaijan, instead having open communication; a plan, which allegedly does not have any clear implication on Karabakh’s status.
In parallel, in the framework of this year’s Ministerial summit the OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zanier declared that the OSCE works in developing investigative mechanisms of the incidents on Karabakh conflict zone.
Armenia has always declared that it does not accept the principle that the two integration vectors contradict each other and it will seek to move with "and…and" principle.
Regardless of the fact that the new president considers himself a pro-Russian politician, and was in favor of the normalization of Russian-Moldovan relations, it is unlikely that Moldova refuses the European integration vector.
It is absolutely meaningless to comment the other words of the president of Azerbaijan, who says Armenia is to be blamed for the prolongation of conflict settlement. It is obvious, who is destructive and who is perceived or not perceived by the international community and the mediators.
The negotiation process had moved in such a way that Aliyev now has to raise the issue of the recognition of the independence of NKR among Azerbaijani society and at the same time in this way he tries to awake discontent of the society and use it to show that the recognition is "impossible".
Vigen Sargsyan will preserve and will develop current foreign political vector of the RA Defense Ministry. At the same time the reforms in the army and in the Ministry will even contribute to the raised effectiveness of the system, which, in its turn, among other will also positively affect our relations with our partners.
If the sides are able to overcome internal crisis and at the same time build healthy cooperation, this "divorce" can even create new opportunities for them.
This format also has serious shortcomings, and the main one is the absence of NKR. Without NKR no real progress can be reached and that’s why the Co-Chairs of the OSCE MG always visit NKR and discuss the process with the government of Artsakh.
At the same time, the recognition of this resolution can also bring forth some threats. It is not excluded that by the instigation of Turkey or by its own initiative Azerbaijan will try to resort to new provocations on the border with Armenia and NKR.
It is enough to remember that Turkey, under the pretext of fighting against terrorism, is warring against the Kurds that are its citizens, is massacring the peaceful Kurdish population and supports the terrorist activities of the Islamic State.
If the investigation mechanisms of the OSCE do not work and there are no guarantees of peace, it will be illogical to expect concessions and progress in the political settlement.
The next step in this direction should be to return NKR to the negotiation table.
In this way official Baku as if is trying to fix the situation after April war and nullify the agreements and negotiations that were before that, including their legal basis.
The format of three Co-Chairs, which presents the three centers of power, was not chosen by chance. Thus, an attempt was made to ensure a balance of forces and to establish a mechanism of checks and balances.
Second, the escalation of the conflict in the South Caucasus will inevitably lead to the strengthening of Russian influence in the region. And this, of course, is not in the EU's interests.
In exchange of all these, the EU got some promises, written on the paper and having no guarantees. Turkey promised to stop the flows of migrants to the EU and receive "unwanted" migrants.
Moscow tries to play balanced game with Yerevan and Baku and ensure "neutrality" of Azerbaijan and possibly restraine reactions of Armenia.
Therefore, it was no coincidence that the EU High Representative hurried to visit the region and reiterated the willingness of the EU to develop close relations with each country, to create individual format and stressed that "the cooperation with European Union does not exclude cooperation with other international alliances."
Despite of pessimistic spirits because of accession of Armenia into the EAEU, the EU continues sending positive impulses to Armenia, which refer to economic cooperation as well.
Azerbaijani side has many times blamed the MG Co-Chars for working ineffectively, but this kind of accusation was heard for the first time.
PACE also does not represent the official position of its member states. It is deputies that are included in the Parliamentary Assembly, who have different views and different interests, thus vote according to their own approaches.
This year certain steps have already been taken in this direction, in particular, Armenia proposed to help in the negotiations between the EAEU-Iran using its centuries-old experience of cooperation with Iran.
During the past year, to promote the negotiation process, the co-chairs again tried to put into circulation the idea of "constructive negotiations," which, however, was not used in the negotiation process that is now in deadlock.
In parallel, the new strategy pays great attention to its neighboring countries neighbors, their cooperation and their impact on the region. The need for cooperation with Turkey is noted in particular, as well as the importance of cooperation with Russia in order to face the common challenges.
The military rhetoric of the Azerbaijani authorities gradually increases, which makes the Co-Chairs only rely on public demand for peace in Azerbaijan.
At this stage it is important for Armenia to be an initiator and clearly define its expectations, to show readiness and flexibility for fulfilling them. In many cases we should be the one, that makes the first step, irrespective of EU’s willingness or opportunities to support us in that. In doing so, we will demonstrate our willingness and ability to set ambitious goals during negotiations.
The formula, announced by the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel after the meeting, shows the vision of the mediators and the key to the settlement of the crisis.
In this context Azerbaijan can try to take advantage of the moment and show Russia its readiness to take a step for the progress of the negotiation process and "offer its services" to support Russia "to confront" the West. But Russia also needs some guarantees that the case of Kazan will not repeat and the process will not collapse damaging Russia’s image.
If we compare the index of the Eastern Partnership, by two of the three criterias Armenia is ahead of Belarus. The same applies to the press freedom index of the EaP countries, where Armenia has 955, while Belarus 502 points. In fact, with some of the parameters Armenia is equal or even ahead of EaP leading countries.
he change in the Constitution and status of Donetsk and Lugansk present one of those cornerstones the agreement around which will result in the real progress in the resolution of the crisis.
Meanwhile, military activities in the country continue, Ukraine has no control over Donbass and for stabilizing the situation it should resort to serious concessions by providing Lugansk and Donetsk a certain level of autonomy. This, for the authorities that came into power as a result of "Euromaidan" revolution and lost Crimea, is more than risky.
Being guided by its energy interests, the EU helps Azerbaijan to improve its policy of blackmail. And this policy is now built not only against Armenia and NKR , but also against Europe, and the closure of the OSCE office in Baku is another evidence.
If we talk about the target-goals of the EaP since its formation, then it has always been emphasized that the most important factor is the existence of a common value system. Today, however, due to the situation in Belarus and Azerbaijan the existing values in these countries are not comparable in any way with those in Armenia.
"If Palanga is returned to Latvia, our country would benefit. In this case, we will acquire oil reserves in the Baltic Sea and will become energy independent and have another resort city," Kuzins said.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly during its Annual session adopted a declaration that has some references to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. These references are more than nonobjective and they awake many questions.
The attitude towards Russia in Armenia and Armenian society will depend on policy of Russia towards Armenia and only than on external factors.
The increase of tension on borders is expected after the Games. On this issue the mediators will have a real work to do. And maybe the visit of the US Co-Chair was planned to assure the Government of Armenia that during their visit to Baku they will do their best to prevent tensions after the Games.
The actual statements about the further cooperation and commitment of the same values are not a sufficient basis for building a strong and deep relationship. At this stage, both the Armenian initiatives and the EU appropriate steps are equally important.
The 6 EaP countries cannot be grouped only according to the fact whether they signed or did not sign the Association Agreement.
Development of the Union’s external relations means additional revenues and investments for the EEU countries, including Armenia. A particular important role Armenia can play in the formation of a treaty and the development of relations with of the EEU with Iran, as it has a direct border with Iran, and many years of experience of trade and economic cooperation.
Elections are being held not for the international community or for their assessment, but for people of NKR, their rights, interests and development of daily life.
The only logical reaction, in order to calm down the situation in the region, will be a new agreement of non-use of force by all three sides - Armenia, Azerbaijan and NKR.
As a democratic country, Germany should not give in to Turkish blackmail and manipulations, but should recognize the Armenian Genocide and by its example push Turkey to recognition.It will help Turkey to get over many stereotypes
The model that is being developed for Armenia and with the help of Armenia, has a chance to become the basis for all Eastern Partnership countries.
Armenia has a great experience and historically good relations with both EaP countries and the Arabic world. This potential can be used for better engagement of all countries in the process of consultations; Armenia can play an important role during these months and have its input in the modernization of the whole ENP.
The fact that the OSCE MG co-chairs are constantly in touch with the Karabakh side - meaning not only with the authorities but also with people, is of particular importance.
One should also take into consideration that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In this context it is not excluded that Turkey can make efforts to induce Azerbaijan to such actions which will distract the attention of both Armenia and the international community from the Genocide issue. In this case maximum alertness from Armenia is demanded.