Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 12

Armenia, too, is on record with a regional security initiative, but that content seems vague as well as subject to changes resulting from the power struggle underway in Yerevan. President Robert Kocharian presented the plan, as it then stood, to the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last November in Istanbul. That plan reserved a prominent role for Russia while remaining vague, though not negative, about the role of Western powers. The document seemed drafted by two sets of hands, one set reflecting Kocharian’s tentative westward tilt prior to the October 27 assassinations in Yerevan, the other set reflecting the reassertion of the Russian line in the wake of that event. With Kocharian currently cornered by the pro-Russian military, Armenia seems likely to line up behind Moscow’s response to the Western-oriented group of Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Armenia seems to be weighing its response while awaiting Moscow’s. From Yerevan’s standpoint, the proposal does contain important incentives: in the short term, the participation of Iran, with which Armenia maintains close relations; and in the medium term, the prospect of Armenia’s inclusion in regional development projects. Meanwhile, the Armenian government has agreed to an initiative Vladimir Putin launched following his elevation to the Russian presidency. On January 3, in telephone calls to Presidents Kocharian, Haidar Aliev and Eduard Shevardnadze, the Russian president proposed a four-country summit–one which would exclude Western powers–on regional security and economic problems in the South Caucasus. Armenia supported Putin’s proposal, Azerbaijan disagreed with it, and Georgia deflected it. Putin’s proposal has therefore had to be scaled down and will probably turn into little more than an informal meeting on the sidelines of the upcoming CIS summit in Moscow (see the Monitor, November 19, 24; Fortnight in Review, December 3, 1999; Itar-Tass, January 4; Noyan-Tapan, Snark, January 4, 13).

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