Hovhannes Igityan, Former Chairman of RA NA Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, Executive Director of “Eurasian Partnership Foundation”, and Edmon Marukyan, RA Member of Parliament.
Armenia was the only state in the region that had OSCE office which is being closed due to the efforts of Azerbaijan. OSCE office in Baku was opened in 2000 and closed in 2014; the office in Tbilisi was opened in 1992 and closed in 2008.
The speakers expressed their concern about the closure of OSCE Yerevan Office.
Referring to the closure of OSCE Yerevan Office because of Azerbaijan’s position, Hovhannes Igityan said that Azerbaijan relates it with Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and considers that the programs implemented by the Office are to promote the status quo.
“Azerbaijan's arguments are absurd. Azerbaijan has always had a problematic attitude towards the OSCE. Let us recall the story of the closure of the OSCE office in Baku. As Azerbaijan is not able to directly influence the implementation of OSCE projects, it used his veto power and thus closed the last OSCE Office in the South Caucasus,” Hovhannes Igityan said.
As a reply to the question what consequences the closure of OSCE Yerevan Office will have for Azerbaijan, he said that it depends on the activities of the Armenian side.
“There are bodies inside the OSCE where the idea of consensus does not work. Let's take the resolutions and committees of the Parliamentary Assembly. There is a majority voting. Armenia has to prepare for the summit from now on. There must be a provision that it condemns Azerbaijan's unconstructive measures,” Hovhannes Igityan said.
Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan proposed to consider the closure of OSCE office from tactical and strategic perspectives.
“The closure of the OSCE office in tactical terms will not cause much harm for Armenia, the harm will be from a strategic point of view. Thus, Azerbaijan is trying to interfere in the internal developments in Armenia,” Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan says, adding that the closure of the OSCE office in Yerevan is the defeat of the Armenian diplomacy because it was not predicted and preventive measures were not taken.
Referring to Azerbaijan’s main goals, Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan said: “Azerbaijan’s government aims at isolating Armenian from the international relations network, influences the domestic situation of Armenia, Armenian democracy and the chances of the Armenian civil society.”
The speaker believes that the closer of OSCE Yerevan Office is of Russia’s interests as well since it also strives to keep Armenia away from the international networks.
MP Edmon Marukyan is concerned about the closure of the OSCE office in a sense that it could affect the political activity of Armenia-OSCE relations but it can not have political consequences for Armenia.
“Politically it can have no impact as the issue of closure was not raised by Armenia. Azerbaijan chose the extreme option and struggled for the closure of the office to the end,” Marukyan said.
At the same time referring to the Foreign Ministry, he said that the Armenian side made all possible efforts to prevent the closure of the OSCE office in Yerevan but it failed.
He also noted that the positive impact of the activities of the OSCE Office was particularly significant for civil sector because it provides great support to the development of civil society institutions.
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