The secretary-general of NATO, Javier Solana, conferred with President Robert Kocharian and other Armenian officials in Yerevan on October 1-2. In an article prepared in advance for the Armenian press, Solana wrote that NATO has “direct interests” in this region which forms a part of Europe from the security and the economic standpoint.
The tenor of the talks in Armenia–Russia’s ally in the South Caucasus–contrasted with that of Solana’s discussions in Georgia and Azerbaijan. The NATO leader stated that any cooperation between Armenia and the alliance would supplement, not contradict, Armenia’s relations with Russia. Solana called for full implementation of Armenia’s individual partnership program with NATO for 1997-99. That program is more modest than that of many countries. Furthermore, Solana publicly stressed the importance of limiting conventional forces in accordance with the terms of the CFE treaty. The NATO leader appeared to allude to the Russian and Armenian arsenals, which are said to substantially exceed CFE ceilings.
Regarding the Karabakh conflict, Solana expressed satisfaction with the observance of the cease-fire, but stressed the urgency of a diplomatic solution within the OSCE’s framework and on the basis of OSCE principles. Armenia and Karabakh reject those terms (codified in the 1996 Lisbon document). Azerbaijan accepts them.
Armenian leaders, for their part, charged that Turkey’s policies toward Armenia impede the development of Armenia’s relations with NATO (Noyan-Tapan, Snark, Azg, October 1-3). The NATO leader had arrived in Yerevan after holding talks in Chisinau, Tbilisi, and Baku (see the Monitor, September 30, October 1-2).
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