by David Stepanyan
On September 3, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan did not choose between European integration and accession to the Customs Union. Someone obviously made that choice for him, Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, said at today's Caucasus- 2013 international conference in Yerevan.
"In other words, Armenia was made an offer that its president could not refuse. I am convinced that any of the well-known Armenian politicians would do the same, i.e. he would have to make a similar choice in the best interests of the country's security", said Iskandaryan. He added that the signs of that change in Armenia's foreign policy had been displayed a few months before that decision, for instance, during the Russian President's visit to Baku. "No wonder that upon completion of the visit, an agreement was signed to sell Russian military hardware worth 4 mln USD to Azerbaijan", he said.
In this light, the expert thinks that Europe, the USA and Russia should understand that Armenia cannot have non-special relations with any country. They only need to look at the map to see that Armenia has only two real neighbors - Iran and Georgia. Subsequently, the EU should understand the reasons of Yerevan's dependence on Moscow in the matter of security and should take this fact into account when preparing a cooperation agenda with Armenia. "I believe that despite Armenia's forthcoming accession to the Customs Union, Armenia can cooperate with the EU, naturally, outside security issues and DCFTA", he said.
The conference is annually organized by the Caucasus Institute with the support of the Academic Swiss Caucasus Net (ASCN). This year the conference covered the reports of representatives of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Switzerland. The reports included a short analysis of the most important developments of 2013 in the South Caucasus countries.