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 Saturday, October 14 2017 01:38
David Stepanyan

Hovhannes Igityan: Armenia looks back at Moscow too often

Hovhannes Igityan: Armenia looks back at Moscow too often

The international expert, ex-chairman of the parliamentary commission on external relations Hovhannes Igityan in an interview with ArmInfo discusses the latest initiatives and processes in the negotiation process around Artsakh. It presents real preferences for Armenia's access to the European market,  shares his opinion on the causes of centrifugal sentiments in Iraq and Spain.



How far do you think the continuation of the negotiations on the resolution of the Artsakh problem without taking into account the mandatory implementation of the results of the Vienna and St. Petersburg agreements is based on the interests of the Armenian parties to the conflict? 

 The situation around the negotiations was always tense. However, it changed dramatically after the April war. The April war, according to the expert, is not a matter of four days, 800 hectares or of  casualties, it is a factor that has qualitatively changed the approach to the solution of the Karabakh conflict. The Armenian side simply could not but respond to such a challenge to Baku by changes in its own approaches or tactics. It was necessary for the provocative Azerbaijan to demonstrate that in such a situation it was impossible even to talk about compromises. All this was started, for this there were all the prerequisites, the same Vienna agreement, but it was not realized until the end.


Yes, but, nevertheless, as we see, the negotiations are continuing and the exact date of the meeting of the presidents in Geneva has already been announced ... 

In my subjective opinion, the leadership of our country and the foreign policy agency too often look back at Moscow, which greatly hinders the process. Although sometimes Nalbandian presents the situation in such a way  that he only needs to call a friend Lavrov and" Russia will help us”, as it was during the signing of the Zurich protocols, so Armenia today got into a situation in which it was cornered, "Are you continuing or not continuing the negotiations?" For too long, the process hung in the air without creating any opportunities for its implementation, and in the end the international community transferred the security issue from preconditions to the negotiating process.


What are the prospects for signing the "facilitated" Armenia-EU Association Agreement? Should we  expect for  another "third  of September"? 

Today I'm trying to understand where the discussion was thrown in the media, the intrigue about whether Armenia will sign or not sign an agreement with the EU. After September 2013, the discussions hanging about in the air around will be signed or not signed by Armenia, the agreement with the EU should only be warmed up." It seems to me that the Armenian authorities are warming up this discussion, the statements, even from Moscow, testify that the treaty is severely circumcised, everything that once worried Russia so deeply has been cut off from it, so in reality the new treaty will only confirm the existing agreement thanks to the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the EU and Armenia signed in 1996.

In 2013 Russia, having considered that the Free Trade Area was not an economic issue, but a political one, did everything to block it. Now this issue, in his opinion, is not worthwhile, only the principles of political relations between Armenia and the EU are being discussed. In this light, the treaty will still be signed, although the prospect of the emergence of a country living by other principles at risk may be dangerous for Russia. I believe that, unlike Russia, there is freedom of speech in Armenia, and sometimes even freedom after the word. In Russia, meanwhile, there is no freedom even before the word, because the oppositionists are put in prison for one thought about holding a rally. In this light, the intrigue surrounding the signing of an agreement with the EU as artificial, created by the authorities to demonstrate the “November diplomatic victory”. This intrigue, according to the expert, is needed for both internal and external use. However, the contract will still be signed, and subsequently it will be possible to add new puzzles.


Arguing for the usefulness of Armenia's participation in Eurasian projects in Moscow, her supporters routinely appeal to Europe's lack of the desire to see our country in the EU. What are the real Euro-prospects of Armenia to you? 

These are political statements of a demagogic nature. In reality, it has always been about the possibility of unimpeded implementation of not even the Armenian, but of any product produced in the territory of Armenia in the EU countries. All economic miracles, beginning from China and ending with Chile, began with In the case of the EAEU, we are not exporting the final result of the work of our citizens, but of the citizens themselves. That's the difference and the problem,


What prevents us from exporting goods to the EEA, not citizens? 

 That’s   impossible for the same  reasons. So, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam produced goods of all famous brands of the world, the production capacities of the largest foreign companies were transferred to these countries. And for such products, the whole world opens up, regardless of where it is produced. This is the essence - in the rules, and not the place of production. In the countries of the EAEU, there are simply no producers able to set up production in Armenia, according to his estimates. And the poorer the country, the easier it is to establish new production there.  And in Armenia today 300-400 euros is a good salary that people are eager to receive. Therefore, DCFTA was never put in an alternative to the Russian market. To start, it is necessary with the rules of the game, the rules of production, the certification of Armenian goods. And in the EU it is well  understood why in the negotiations  with Armenia the Republic was given time to establish production of quality goods. However, obstacles to the importation of components from Armenia outside of the EAEU will immediately eat up the expected 20% difference in the cost price, for example, a  Volkswagen  produced in Armenia and Germany. And the main goal of the EAEU is the same. The main mistake of Russian officials, beginning with Putin is that they are trying to protect the local producer." Meanwhile, as Adam Smith said that it is necessary to protect the consumer, it is necessary to fight for the consumer. This is the guarantee of the development of a free market economy. made a hostage to the "protection of the local producer" by raising duties on competitive foreign products and Armenia.  And this is the way to nowhere.



Armenian government approved a program for the creation of a free trade zonein Meghri community of Syunik region of Armenia on the border with Iran on August 3. Does this project and, in general, relations with Iran jeopardize the sharp change in the position of the US Administration on Iran?

  In general, the statements of Donald Trump on Iran, North Korea, Russia, other areas of US policy are rather inconsistent. The complex should also consider the Syrian problem and only then, in fact, the Armenian-Iranian relations. Armenia was allowed to deepen relations with Iran even in the conditions of the economic embargo of this country. I think that we should deepen relations with Iran today, regardless of the international situation around Iran, and I think that this is not a danger, and we should not suspend the implementation of real projects with Iran on the basis of the dangers that still may be. The current tension between Tehran and Washington is still a matter of negotiations, and in my opinion, Trump will not bomb Iran anyway.


The referendums in Kurdistan and Catalonia are serious geopolitical trends in the framework of a single logic aimed at breaking the existing world order, or they reflect only purely local separatist sentiments? 

The case law has a place to be in any case. At the same time, I would still consider the processes around Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia separately. If there were no referendums in Scotland or Catalonia, in Kurdistan it would have passed, one way or another, because this issue did not arise today, especially when it began to mature after the actual collapse of Iraq." There are other factors, for example, the personal Masud Barzani. If you try to unite referendums, I would do so by combining them into two groups: where self-determination is the only guarantor of security and self-determination in order to preserve identity and historical memory, as, for example, in Catalonia.


Well, let's try to go from the other end. In Kurdistan, the referendum supported Israel, does someone support self-determination of Catalonia? 


In the 21st century, the attitude toward independence   is not as negative as it was in the twentieth century. In the same case, Kosovo, who recognized and did not recognize his country's independence, considered the issue exclusively through the prism of their own problems.  And Spain does not recognize Kosovo. The situation is similar with the recognition of Catalonia, which is a separate issue, given the relative economic well-being of its inhabitants. At the same time, the US independence of Kurdistan was almost recognized, limiting itself to calling for postponing the referendum until better times. Turkey, meanwhile, met a referendum in Kurdistan more aggressively than, in fact, the metropolis - Iraq. And Turkey is trying to be a bigger prophet in the Kurdistan issue today, than Muhammad. Therefore, I look at the prospects of Kurdistan from the point of view of the application and the postponed implementation in which Barzani will focus precisely on the powerful of this world. Catalonia is not geopolitics, it is the response of the political party of Catalonia to the actions of the political party of Spain, since 2005, successively depriving Catalonia of privileges with the aim of securing the votes of the remaining Spanish regions


By the way, about Turkey. Based on Erdogan's statements, it seems that he decided to quarrel at the same time as Russia and the United States. What's the catch? 

While analyzing Erdogan's recent statements on Russia and the US, the expert called for considering the impulsiveness of the Turkish president, noting the presence of a powerful personal factor in Turkish foreign policy. Erdogan's statements against the leadership of the EU, Germany, this is just another confirmation.  At that, I strictly believe that sycophancy and unconditional sacramentality of the Armenian authorities in foreign policy lead to political successes are incapable. Meanwhile, as the anti- Russian statements of the same Azerbaijan, for example, on the Crimea issue lead to Moscow's steps towards Azerbaijan. The same could be said by analyzing the response of the United States and Russia to the stiffness of Erdogan, which we all saw in the recent past in response to the Russian aircraft shot down by the Turks and the cover of the Gulen schools in Turkey .In the end, even in the current situation, one should remember , that the Turkish army is the most powerful in NATO after the US Army.


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