Armenia, too, is on record with a regional security initiative, but its content seems vague and also subject to changes resulting from the power struggle underway in Yerevan. President Robert Kocharian presented the plan, as it then stood, to the OSCE’s recent summit. That plan reserved a prominent political role for Russia, seemed to accept an open-ended presence of Russian troops, and remained 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 Yerevan in the wake of that event. With Kocharian currently cornered by the pro-Russian military, Armenia seems likely to line up behind Russia’s response to the proposal from the Western-oriented group of Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Yerevan seems for now to be weighing its response while awaiting Moscow’s. From Yerevan’s own standpoint, the proposal contains 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 regionwide economic development projects. Meanwhile, the Armenian government has agreed to an initiative launched by Putin. On January 3, in telephone calls to Kocharian, Aliev and Shevardnadze, the Russian president proposed a four-country summit–one which would exclude Western powers–on the security and economic problems of the South Caucasus. While Armenia supported Putin’s initiative, 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. Armenia’s stance on regional security issues will ultimately develop as a function of its internal power struggle.
“The Fortnight in Review” is prepared by senior analysts Jonas Bernstein (Russia), Stephen Foye (Security and Foreign Policy), and Vladimir Socor (Non-Russian republics). Editor, Stephen Foye. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com, by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4526 43rd Street NW, Washington, DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of “The Fortnight in Review” is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation