Azerbaijan and Armenia launched, each, a proposal for a regional security pact during the Istanbul summit. Both proposals are supposed to be fleshed out in the course of negotiations among all interested parties. The Azerbaijani-proposed “Pact for Security and Cooperation in the South Caucasus” stresses the inclusion of the United States alongside the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and the regional powers of Russia and Turkey. It calls, furthermore, for ruling out the presence of foreign bases and troops in the three South Caucasus countries. That point, consistent with Azerbaijan’s refusal to host Russian troops, should help Georgia rid itself of the remaining Russian forces on its territory. And it will run into opposition from Moscow and Yerevan, whose bilateral military alliance includes long-term agreements on the stationing of Russian troops in Armenia. The Azerbaijani proposal envisages also a system of mutual guarantees against aggression, ethnic cleansing, separatism and terrorism.
The Armenian proposal seems vague on the role of the United States; it favors, on the other hand, the inclusion of Iran–a point which Washington and pro-Western countries in the region are likely to oppose. Yerevan’s proposal implicitly accommodates the presence of Russian troops in the South Caucasus. On the other hand, the wording of the proposal reflects Yerevan’s interest in avoiding isolation and preventing the formation of dividing lines, which would leave Azerbaijan and Georgia on the pro-Western side and Armenia on the pro-Russian side. That would severely retard Armenia’s economic development and ultimately its security as well (Turan, Noyan-Tapan, Armenpress, Snark, Azg, November 18-22; see the Monitor, November 22).
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