The relations between Armenia and the European Union are entering a new phase. President Serzh Sargsyan has visited Brussels to give assurances that Armenia will continue its European integration and cooperation with NATO.
While visiting the Belgian capital that is regarded as the political center for both the EU and NATO, Sargsyan met European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to say that “very important developments” have taken place recently allowing Armenia and the EU “to reach a new milestone in their relations.”
Ahead of the 2012 parliamentary elections, the opposition Heritage party and pro-government Orinats Yerkir party held their conventions late last week to define their priorities, in particular, on where Armenia should be moving politically – to the West or to the North.
At the 7th Congress of the Heritage party, chairman of its board, independent Armenia’s first foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian said that the current situation presupposes the “change of power as an imperative.”
The Union of Armenians of Russia (UAR) has stated its support for Russia’s powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is currently a candidate in the March 4 presidential election.
The statement was delivered during a February 26 event held at one of Moscow’s largest concert halls. The UAR-organized event was attended by invited guests from the Armenian Diaspora, as well as other ethnic and youth organizations from Moscow and regions of Russia.
In the South Caucasus just near the volatile Middle East and Gulf region, countries are engaged in active muscle play. The most debated issue among local experts is whether a war in Iran would spread to the greater region as well. The discourse is taking place in conditions of continuing saber-rattling by Azerbaijan that does not conceal its aggressive designs against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has signed a decree scheduling the next parliamentary elections for May 6, which effectively means that the campaign has been started. This campaign, though, started long ago.
Each political party is trying to find new ways to attract public attention. For example, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) is sending its senior members to travel around provinces and conduct a kind of brain-storming.
During a February 21 international video conference secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Nikolai Bordyuzha made some sensational statements concerning possible intervention in the internal affairs of member countries, as well as in the Karabakh conflict. The official said that Russia intends to play a more active role in Armenia and Karabakh through the CSTO.
Last weekend Stepanakert saw a two-day international conference entitled “The 20th Anniversary of NKR’s Independence: Realities and Prospects”, which was attended by lawmakers and political scientists from Karabakh and Armenia, representatives of the expert communities from Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, Greece, the Netherlands. The official delegation at the conference from Armenia was led by Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Eduard Sharmazanov.
The synthetic rubber producing plant, Nairit, has become the property of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS) Interstate Bank, Armenia’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan announced on Thursday.
Former foreign minister Vartan Oskanian’s joining Armenia’s second most important governing party may be an indication that a centrist opposition is emerging in the country.
The Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) recently issued a statement jointly with its two coalition partners – the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and Orinats Yerkir – that the coalition will not be contesting the May parliamentary elections with a single list. The three political parties only announced their agreement around “civilized competition”.