Arminfo.info




 Saturday, October 5 2013

Marianna Mkrtchyan

Richard Giragosian: The EU will shortly offer Armenia a new cooperation document containing of 7 clauses

Richard Giragosian: The EU will shortly offer  Armenia a new cooperation document  containing  of 7 clauses

 


Mr Giragosian, what do you think about
the two integration unions which Armenia wants to join? What
are their positive and negative sides?
What will Armenia lose refusing the Association Agreement? 


As for the Customs Union, I can say that
the positive element of Armenia’s
joining the Customs Union is that it will enhance the Armenian-Russian partnership,
prove once again Russia’s
trust in Armenia and will
strengthen Armenia’s
positions within the frames of the CIS. At the same time, it enhances relations
with Kazakhstan and Belarus.
However, despite Armenia’s
hopes  linked with the Customs Union, all
the positive sides of this integration process are not clear yet. If we touch on
the economic sector, Armenia
will have losses chiefly regarding the trade tariffs and prices in general. Armenia could
have an opportunity  of interfering the
bigger market. Moreover, for the last two years export of the Armenian
production to the European market exceeded twofold its export to the countries
of the Customs Union. And finally, the Customs Union offer Armenia nothing
new, that is to say, old rules which protect interests of Armenian oligarchs
and weaken economic reforms, will go on functioning. Moreover, thanks to such
actions, no big European investments will be made in Armenia any more. This just an economic side of  the situation. The
way how Armenia adopted a
decision to join the Customs Union also weakens the country, as from now,
the  EU takes Armenia as an unreliable partner
for the European countries.  


Can we suppose that the EU will
reduce the number of programmes being fulfilled in Armenia?


Since Armenia’s decision to join the
Customs Union, the European Union has already adopted a decision to reduce some
programmes. All the funds that had to be directed to the Armenian government
for fulfillment of the DCFRA agreement, were stopped. I mean several million EUR.
This is a great financial loss for our government. And if in future the EU
decides to deliver funds to Armenia,
they will be delivered not to the government but civil society.


The ruling party of Armenia says
that the decision to join the Customs Union is stemming from the national
security of the country. How much is such a statement grounded, especially if
we take into account the fact that Russia sells weapon to Azerbaijan, and one
of the members of the Customs Union, Kazakhstan, demands to immediately close
the border to Nagornyy Karabakh?


I do not agree to the viewpoint that Armenia is
joining the Customs Union stemming from the national security problems. First
of all, DCFTA agreement as well as the Association Agreement have never
contained the points linked with security. Moreover, these agreements have
never been presented  as a challenge or
threat to the Armenian-Russian relations.


Armenia's joining the Customs Union
against the background of the fact that Russia is Azerbaijan's number one
partner on weapon delivery, and Kazakhstan protects territorial integrity of
Azerbaijan, is evidence of weakness of Yerevan's positions. The given steps are
evidence of availability of deeper problems, and demonstrate absence of
equality in the relations between Armenia
and Russia, that is to say, Moscow shows no respect to Yerevan. Armenia's
decision to join the Customs Union is directed against Ukraine. In
this case, Armenia
is just a victim. Actually, these steps were directed against Ukraine but not Armenia. The key purpose of the
given decision was to force Armenia
say "no" to the EU , but not "yes" to the Customs
Union". 


Many experts say about a dramatic changing
of the political course of Armenia.
However, this sudden changing took place in Moscow,
first of all, and then in Yerevan,
that is to say, the Russian policy changed first, the expert said.


This was the reason, why Russia was not against Armenia's negotiations with the EU for 3,5
years, and official Moscow
has drawn a line just recently.


What can we expect from the Vilnius “Eastern partnership”
summit? Will the door of Europe be finally closed for Armenia, or new cooperation
conception will be drawn out?



predict only one thing for Armenia
at the Vilnius Summit – disgrace: it was really disgraceful on Armenia's part to surrender to Russia so
easily. It was a strategic mistake and a lost opportunity.  However, at present we are
going to prepare new legal aspects for cooperation with the EU. Just for this
reason, despite disappointment, the EU said about its readiness to continue
cooperation.  Armenia and the European Union will
create a new legal aspect for partnership. The new document will consist of 6
or 7 clauses, with priority to be given to mobility or simplicity of visa
regime, education and sector-specific cooperation – that is, the financing will
be continued but will be directed to specific sectors. The other points will
concern the efforts to fight corruption, to ensure the rule of law and to
protect human rights. But I still doubt that the document will be ready by the
EaP Summit in Vilnius.
Unfortunately, the Armenian authorities do not realize that the context of
their partnership with the EU has been seriously changed and that the new
format will focus on the weakest aspects of the Association Agreement -
corruption, rule of law and human rights. For this reason, the Armenian
authorities will face new higher requirements and closer control. Now that the
ruling regime has betrayed the EU, it will turn its eyes towards the
opposition.


 


The Armenian-Turkish Protocols
are still on the agenda of the parliaments of Armenia
and Turkey.
Can we say about staring of a new process between these two countries?


  At present, the given issue is regarding Turkey but not Armenia which did everything
possible depending on it for normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations.
Now everybody are waiting for the actions from Turkey,
Turkey
is responsible for that. Incidentally, Washington’s,
Brussels’s and Moscow’s viewpoint on the issue coincides.
They agree that Turkey
left the process and it itself can decide when to return to it. However, I
think that
 that the Armenian-Turkish Protocols are
already dead and will never come back. But, at present we have another process,
when they are trying to attract the points which were involved in the Protocols
without the protocol format. And this new strategy is about opening of the
border and establishment of diplomatic relations. This is one of the issues, where
I protect the position of the authorities of Armenia by 100%. Just thanks to
this issue Armenia
has managed to enhance its strategic significance  and deepen diplomatic relations.


 


 


Can we suppose that by 2015, the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Turkey will again return to the
Protocols for creation of illusion of improvement of relations?


 Turkey will come back to normalizing of
relations with Armenia
till 2015. The genocide issue is a bigger problem for Turkey than for Armenia. It is linked with the
moral pressure imposed upon the official Ankara.
We should expect that Turkey
will come back to normalizing of relations with Armenia over the coming years.  Azerbaijan
has become the biggest victim of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations,
as its relations with official Ankara
were damaged. "Turkey
is disappointed by the fact that Azerbaijan puts veto upon all the
initiatives in its regional policy. Turkey
was wrong as it underrated the role of Azerbaijan. Moreover, Russia made use of  the temporary 
worsening of the Azerbaijani-Turkish relations and improved its
relations with Baku.  We see that Turkey
is not the biggest military partner of Azerbaijan
any more, as Russia
has occupied this position. Armenia should not like the look of it.  


 


What do you think about an intention
to make Constitutional reforms? What
is the true purpose of their making? Is not it Serzh Sargsyan’s attempt to
secure his power?


  
It is still early to speak about it as then reforms have not been
offered yet. However, I think that they are not an attempt to prolong Sargsyan’s
power. I think it will not work because of the two reasons. First, it is for the
first time over the entire history of Armenia that the fight started within
the ruling party. Secondly, Sargsyan is the last representative of the Karabakh
elite in the power. At present, we are ay the transition stage and the next
head of state will be younger and will have absolutely different political
views. I don’t think that in the created situation the current system will
function in future as well.


What will civil displeasure in the
republic result in against the background of overall price hike? Can we expect social
revolt in the republic?


 Civil activism and interest in political
processes are growing in Armenia.
One of the key reasons of it is the situation when almost 1/3 of the population
are below the poverty line, while the oligarchs are getting richer and richer,
with no echanism available to control their insatiable appetites. As a result,
the people regard them as traitors and the biggest threat for the country.


 Thank
you, for an interesting interview.


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