The first EU backlash over Armenia’s policy U-turn and move towards Russian integration appears to have been left behind as the sides have embarked on the way of seeking acceptable forms of cooperation.
The new American co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick alone, without his Russian and French colleagues, has visited the region of the conflict where he has already met with the leadership of Azerbaijan in Baku, the Armenian foreign minister in Yerevan and intends to participate in a line-of-contact monitoring in Karabakh.
After the announcement by President Serzh Sargsyan in Moscow of the decision that Armenia will be joining the Russia-led Customs Union last week, a strange situation has emerged in Armenia. While opinions are being voiced by online chattering classes and through mass media that the decision to join a more regressive [as compared to the EU’s integration effort] Customs Union had been made under apparent pressure, the political arena seems to be quite reconciled to this idea and even approving of it.
The Russian city of St. Petersburg has hosted the G20 summit this week and while the announced theme of the gathering of world leaders is purely economic, everyone acknowledges that it is still mostly about the Syria crisis – the number one subject of international politics today.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on September 3 made a statement in Moscow that proved the most unexpected for Armenia. He said that during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin he ‘confirmed the desire’ of Armenia to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian was due to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of European Union member states and members of the Eastern Partnership programs in Brussels on July 22. The visit is another occasion for Armenia and the EU to make sure they are on the same page ahead of the initiating of a major document later this year.
Still a few months ago Gagik Minasyan, a senior lawmaker affiliated with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, hinted that the choice of Armenia between the European and Eurasian Unions will largely depend on what they have to offer on Karabakh.