Russian FM Lavrov Cautions Armenia Against NATO Engagements


Dec 28, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

In an interview with TASS published on December 28, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia expects Armenia to realize the threat of losing the sovereignty of the state in the sphere of national defense and security as a result of deepening dialogue with NATO.

"I hope Yerevan is aware that deepening interaction with the [North Atlantic] alliance leads to the loss of sovereignty in the sphere of national defense and security," Lavrov noted. 

He noted that Armenia has participated in several dozens of events with NATO this year. According to him, Armenia continues to modernize its armed forces according to NATO standards, and its military personnel are being trained in some states of the Euro-Atlantic bloc.

"This cannot but cause us concern. We have repeatedly drawn the attention of our Armenian colleagues that the true goal of the NATO members is to strengthen their positions in the region and create conditions for manipulation according to the scheme of 'divide and rule,'" the Russian Foreign Minister said.

The Foreign Minister said that official Yerevan, having succumbed to the entreaties of Westerners, is trying to reformat its foreign policy line. 

The agency asked the head of Russian diplomacy about the further prospects for developing relations between Moscow and Yerevan, considering the difficulties that have arisen in the dialog over the past few months. 

According to Lavrov, the Armenian side is exchanging the time-tested allied bond with Moscow not even for specific Western assistance but only for vague promises. 

"To justify the course of strategic reversal, they are trying to blame Russia for all the republic's troubles, including the loss of Karabakh. We have repeatedly spoken about Russia's concerns publicly - there is no point in listing again the unfriendly steps of the Armenian authorities. Armenia has been and remains a strategic partner for us in the South Caucasus. 

We are convinced that all the difficulties are temporary and will be overcome if there is political will. It is the sustainable and systematic development of Russian-Armenian ties that meets the fundamental interests of the peoples of our two states, which have common values and a common cultural code," the minister noted.

Lavrov recalled that trade and economic ties and sectoral dialog are developing rapidly between Russia and Armenia. "This is the foundation for the relations between the two countries, as well as the most important support for the sustainability of the Armenian economy and the well-being of the Armenian population.

 The rapid growth of the republic's GDP in recent years is largely due to cooperation with Russia and Yerevan's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. On December 14-15, the 22nd session of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation, co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Ministers, was held in Yerevan. Next year, Armenia will preside over the EAEU," the Russian Foreign Minister said.

He further drew attention to the fact that Armenia faces several challenges. "Moreover, it will not be possible to solve them with the help of Western players. The US and EU, unlike Russia, do not seek to bring peace and stability to the republic and the South Caucasus as a whole. 

Their task is completely different - to squeeze Moscow and other regionalists, to create a new hotbed of tension following the Balkans, the Middle East, and Ukraine. The way out of the difficult situation is obvious - to fulfill the trilateral agreements of Yerevan, Baku, and Moscow at the highest level," Lavrov stated.

Asked by TASS to assess the expediency of the continued presence of Russia's 102nd military base in Armenia, Lavrov pointed out the harmfulness of such reasoning. 

"The treaty on its deployment there was concluded on March 16, 1995, based primarily on national interests and the common task of our states to strengthen stability in the South Caucasus. Today, our military is a key element in ensuring peace in this region," he added.