U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern has spoken about “three tracks” for Yerevan and Ankara to settle their historical feud until 2015, the year when the centennial of the Armenian Genocide will be marked.
“Hopefully Turkey and Armenia will find a way to make 2015 an inclusive affair and part of a constructive process. 2015 will be a sensitive year. Therefore, it will be an opportunity to bring the two nations together,” said Heffern in an interview with the Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper, recommending “three tracks” to be taken between the two countries.
The countries co-chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group -- the United States, France and Russia -- have expressed their concern over the escalation of tensions in the Karabakh conflict zone. On the last leg of her South Caucasus tour in Baku on June 6, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said new approaches to settling the protracted conflict will be presented to the sides at the meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the mediating troika in Paris, France on June 17-18.
Some observers of the contentious atmosphere between Armenia and Azerbaijan are linking two incidents this week in which three Armenian and five Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, with the visit of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the region.
The Armenian side blames Azerbaijan for the loss of life, insisting that it only retaliates to acts of sabotage attempted by Baku. Azerbaijan, on the contrary, accuses Armenia of perpetrating sabotage.
The holders of the second and third most important posts in Armenia became known at the end of last week as Hovik Abrahamyan was installed as Parliament Speaker and Tigran Sargsyan was reappointed Prime Minister.
Abrahamyan stepped down as parliament speaker half a year before the May 6 parliamentary elections in order to manage the campaign of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). His re-election as speaker was widely seen as a compromise between the RPA and the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), which has the second largest faction in the current National Assembly.
Armenia is intensifying its economic ties with Europe and intends to hold the first round of negotiations with the European Union on a free trade agreement on June 19-20 in Brussels, said Armenia’s Deputy Economy Minister Garegin Melkonyan this week.
Today, May 30, Armenia’s Constitutional Court (CC) is due to continue the consideration of the claim lodged by the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) to invalidate the results of the May 6 parliamentary elections under the proportional system. Six former opposition candidates contesting the vote in single-mandate constituencies had also challenged the results of the elections at the CC.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Armenia on June 4 as part of her European tour and in Yerevan will hold meetings with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan.
A week before the new Armenian parliament is due to convene for its first session (May 31) an answer has been provided to the main post-election question – whether there will again be a governing coalition in Armenia.
Gagik Tsarukyan, the leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party that got 37 seats in the 131-member National Assembly as a result of the May 6 vote, refused to form a coalition with the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) that got an absolute majority in the legislature. He motivated the refusal by the fact that even though his party did receive nearly half a million in the elections it still did not have a constitutional capacity to form a government and implement its economic program.
The conflict between Russia and the West is apparently becoming the main dividing line in the domestic politics of Armenia. The split along this line occurs both within the opposition and pro-government forces.
Aram Sargsyan, the leader of the Hanrapetutyun party, who was number three on the proportional list of the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC), gave up his mandate in parliament and announced its departure from the ANC. As it turned out later, the main disagreement with the ANC was around the relations between Armenia and Russia.
The parliament of the U.S. state of Rhode Island last week adopted a resolution urging President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The resolution also calls upon Nagorno-Karabakh to “continue efforts to develop as a free and independent nation” and praises Artsakh’s “constructive involvement with the international community and its efforts to reach a lasting solution to the existing regional problems.”