Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 77

Armenian foreign minister Alexander Arzumanian has proposed establishing a trilateral framework for cooperation among Armenia, Iran, and Greece. Arzumanian discussed the proposal in Yerevan with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayati, who in turn cited Greek consent to hold a meeting of the three foreign ministers in Athens. (IRNA, April 16; Azg [Yerevan], April 17) A common denominator in the foreign policies of the three countries is their suspicion of Turkey. On the military side of this policy, Armenian defense minister Vazgen Sarkisian last year concluded military cooperation agreements on the same implicit anti-Turkish basis with Greece, Syria, and the leftist government then in power in Bulgaria.

In Moscow, Armenian parliament chairman Babken Ararktsian declared that "the best indicator of Armenia’s position on NATO’s enlargement is the presence of Russian military bases in Armenia;" and he urged Moscow to speed up the ratification of the treaty on Russian basing rights in Armenia. Ararktsian made these statements from the rostrum of Russia’s Federation Council after emerging from a long meeting with Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov. Federation Council chairman Yegor Stroev in turn credited Armenia (apparently omitting Belarus) as "the only country supporting our position toward NATO." (Noyan-Tapan, April 17)

The Armenian Communist party, which opposes the government’s domestic policies, is happy with its Russian-oriented foreign policy. "Russia has one ally in the west and one in the south: Belarus and Armenia. Armenia is a bridge between Russia and its ally Iran and the Arab states," Armenian CP first secretary Sergei Badalian commented. (Noyan-Tapan, April 14-15)

Dependent on Russian support in the conflict over Karabakh — as illustrated by recently revealed massive deliveries of Russian military hardware — Yerevan is has grown anxious in the face of recent Russian overtures to Azerbaijan. The West’s increasingly rigid, legalistic insistence on restoring Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh leaves Yerevan hardly any option but to rely exclusively on Russia and on cooperation with Iran.

Russia, Iran Jointly Supply Afghan Clients.