Swiss Ambassador to Armenia Lukas Gasser: Switzerland will try to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without questioning the established formats such as the OSCE Minsk process
by Ashot Safaryan
Pushing the Association Agreement with the EU to the background, Armenia gets rid of threats to its national interests i.e. inevitable abidance by the West's anti- Iranian sanctions, Armenian expert in regional issues Sergey Shakaryants said in an interview with Regnum.
He said that the EU became the appendage of US strategic policy yet long ago, and the West-Iran relations remain doubtful.
"Actually, Armenia is an amazing country, as it has somehow resisted the efforts of the USA and Western Europe to involve it into anti-Iranian sanctions for 22 years. Why should we observe the EU's general decisions that apply not only the member-states but also the countries Associated with the EU, like Turkey, now when Armenia and Iran are enhancing bilateral cooperation in many fields, such as construction of an oil processing plant, HPP, railway etc? It is nonsense. Why should we refuse from favorable relations and trade with our neighbor to display 'solidarity' with the West? We do not live in Europe, we border with Iran," he said.
Shakaryan believes that Armenia should not think of yielding part of its sovereign rights to a supra-national structure within any integration process.
"Such kind of co-existence with the external world is affordable to a country that has already fulfilled its national tasks and goals on the political agenda. Unfortunately, I don't think that Armenia has achieved that level. The problem of Nagorno Karabakh is a prior national task of Armenia," he said. The expert is sure that the issue of customs area threatens the security of the Karabakh people. "This threat has not been liquidated as long as the Association with the EU is on Armenia's foreign policy agenda. As regards the CIS Customs Union, we cannot draw any final conclusions on the issue yet. Experts have been informed that Armenia will be free to decide its customs territory and borders in line with its national interests. I think, this conceals some understatements on the Karabakh issue, but they are of positive nature," Shakaryants said.