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Archive for Armenia

Newsline: Iran opens consulate in Armenia’s southernmost region to counter Azerbaijan and Turkey

Iran has opened a consulate general in Kapan, located in the southernmost Armenian province of Syunik, in what appears to be a direct message to Azerbaijan and its backer Turkey. Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian officially inaugurated the consulate on Friday, making Iran the first country to establish a diplomatic mission in the province that is sought by Baku and Ankara. The move appeared to come in support of Tehran’s assertion that any changes in its borders and transit links with Armenia would be a “red line” that it would not tolerate being crossed. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/22/iran-opens-consulate-in-armenias-kapan-to-deliver-a-message) Azerbaijan – which also has a border with Iran – and its ally Turkey wish to establish a new transport link connecting Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhchivan with the Azerbaijani mainland, a route they call the “Zangezur corridor”. If the route is established, in effect bypassing Armenian checkpoints, it will have consequences for Iran-Armenia commerce and could sever a major Iranian transit link with the South Caucasus.

Newsline: Armenia, Azerbaijan top diplomats negotiate in Geneva

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have held talks in Geneva on a future peace treaty, according to officials in Baku and Yerevan, following recent deadly clashes between the arch-foes. Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov met on Sunday in Geneva to begin “drafting the text of the peace treaty”, the foreign ministry in Baku said on Monday. It said the talks followed up the EU-mediated meeting on August 31 in Brussels between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Azerbaijan called for “full withdrawal of the Armenian armed units from the territories of Azerbaijan, the opening of transport and communication lines”, the ministry said in a statement. Armenia’s foreign ministry said, “The parties exchanged ideas on the peace treaty, ensuring the rights and security guarantees of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.” It reaffirmed its demands of Azerbaijani troops’ “withdrawal from the sovereign territory of Armenia”, release of POWs and “the introduction of international mechanisms for controlling the situation on the border”. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/3/armenia-azerbaijan-top-diplomats-hold-peace-talks-in-geneva) Baku and Yerevan fought two wars – in 2020 and in the 1990s – over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan. Last month, at least 286 people were killed on both sides before a United States-brokered truce ended the worst clashes since the Caucasus neighbours’ 2020 war.

Newsline: Israel may halt its weapons sale to Azerbaijan, Armenian ambassador says

Israel may halt commercial weapon sales to Azerbaijan, Armenian Ambassador to Israel Armen Smbatyan told The Jerusalem Post, as fighting intensified for the ninth day between the two countries. “I believe that due to the appeal by the international organizations and many individual states for an immediate de-escalation, Israel may halt its arms sales to Azerbaijan,” Smbatyan said. (https://www.jpost.com/international/israel-may-halt-its-weapons-sale-to-azerbaijan-armenian-ambassador-says-644602) Last week, Armenia recalled Smbatyan for consultations to protest the sale of Israeli made weapons, including drones, to Azerbaijan, which have been used against its forces. The Foreign Ministry said it would not comment on Smbatyan’s words or on Jerusalem’s export policy with regard to defense matters. Renewed hostilities broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan on September 27, over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

Newsline: Armenia recalls ambassador to Israel over arms sales to Azerbaijan

Armenia recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations over Israeli arms sales to Azerbaijan. Protesting against the Israeli weapons exports, Armenian foreign ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan said “Israel’s workstyle is unacceptable. The ministry has to call back its ambassador in Israel.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-armenia-azerbaijan-israel/armenia-recalls-ambassador-to-israel-over-arms-sales-to-azerbaijan-idUSKBN26M76L) Azerbaijan has acknowledged using Israeli-made weapons in its fighting with ethnic Armenian forces around Nagorno-Karabakh, where heavy clashes this week have drawn international calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Newsline: Armenia Tries to Reassure Iran Over Embassy in Israel

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said Yerevan’s relations with Iran are advancing through active dialogue encompassing an extensive agenda. His remarks to reporters Thursday was aimed at reassuring Tehran over Armenia’s announced plans to open an embassy in Israel. Mnatsakanyan’s remarks come two days after about two dozen Iranian university students held a demonstration in front of Armenia’s Embassy in Tehran protesting Yerevan’s decision, announced last September, to open an embassy in Tel Aviv. Demonstrators chanted “death to Israel” and burned an Israeli flag. (http://asbarez.com/194680/armenia-tries-to-reassure-iran-over-embassy-in-israel/) While saying that Armenia has its own interests to advance, Mnatsakanyan told reporters that Yerevan has never and it will not pursue relations with one partner at the expense of another. While Israel and Armenia established diplomatic relations in 1992, there has not been a diplomatic representation on each other’s land.

Newsline: The Netherlands to get three new embassies

The Netherlands is to establish three new embassies, in Armenia, Niger and Burkina Faso, foreign minister Stef Blok has told MPs. The current diplomatic missions in Niamey and Ouagadougou will be expanded and given full embassy status as part of cabinet efforts to focus more attention on the Sahel region, Blok said. (https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2019/12/diplomatic-expansion-the-netherlands-to-get-three-new-embassies/) Both offices are currently satellites of the Dutch embassy in Mali. The new embassy in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, means there will also be Dutch representation throughout the region, the minister said. In addition, the current Dutch diplomatic missions in Abuja (Nigeria), Amman, Bagdad, Beijing, Bogota, Brussels, Caracas, Geneva, New York, Rabat, Tirana and Vilnius will be strengthened, Blok said. The government’s coalition accord included a commitment to spend €40m to strengthen the Dutch diplomatic presence abroad and reopen embassies and consulates. Some €10m has already been spent on adding 29 posts to the Dutch diplomatic mission south and east of the EU, because of the instability in these regions. In May 2017, the government advisory board for international affairs AIV said €70m to €80m a year needed to be spent to bring Dutch embassies up to scratch following years of cutbacks.

Newsline: Armenia announces it will open embassy in Israel

Armenia announced on Thursday that it intends to open an embassy in Tel Aviv, a move expected to bring the once cool ties between the two countries to a different level. “Israel is an important player in the Middle East,” Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was quoted as saying in a cabinet meeting. “The opening of the embassy will contribute to the deepening of bilateral relations and protection of Armenia’s interests in the region.” (https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Armenia-to-open-embassy-in-Jerusalem-602257) According to the cabinet decision, the move will also strengthen the Armenian Apostolic Church’s presence in the country. The new embassy is expected to open by the beginning of next year. Mnatsakanyan said that Armenia would welcome a reciprocal move by Israel, and that “this is on the agenda of our dialogue.” Israel gave no indication, however, that it was considering opening an embassy in Yerevan.

Newsline: Former Armenian ambassador to China indicted in the US in bribe scheme

A former Armenian ambassador and a Russian national face corruption charges for their role in bribery scandal at a Rolls-Royce subsidiary, the Justice Department said. Azat Martirossian, 62, of Armenia, who was once that country’s ambassador to China, and Vitaly Leskov, 50, a Russian national, face one count of conspiracy to launder money and 10 counts of money laundering. A federal grand jury in Ohio, where the Rolls-Royce subsidiary is based, handed down the indictment. Prosecutors said the two are currently living outside the United States. Prosecutors said the two were part of a scheme to secure a $145 million gas pipeline contract for the Rolls Royce subsidiary by allegedly paying bribes between 1999 and 2013. Last year, Rolls-Royce agreed to pay $800 million to resolve investigations by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, and Brazil. So far, seven people have been charged as part of the U.S. investigation, including two guilty pleas, the Justice Department said.


Newsline: Serbian embassy to open in Armenia

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said at a press conference with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian that the republic was planning to open an embassy in Yerevan, Armenia Today reports. Nalbandian is on a visit to Belgrade at the invitation of Dacic.


Newsline: Ukraine refrains from severing diplomatic ties with Armenia

Ukraine would not sever diplomatic relations with Armenia no matter how Yerevan voted at a UN General Assembly meeting on the Crimean referendum, Embassy official Igor Roman told journalists in Yerevan. Among a dozen other nations Armenia voted against the resolution that reaffirms Ukraine’s territorial integrity and calls the referendum in Crimea illegal. A hundred nations voted in favor of this non-binding document, with another 58 abstaining. By its vote Armenia, in fact, backed its main political and military ally Russia. At the press conference in Yerevan Roman said that Ukraine’s ambassador to Armenia, Ivan Kukhta would return to Yerevan next week to continue his duties. Kukhta was recalled by Kiev “for consultations” over the reference to the right of peoples to self-determination in the context of the Crimean referendum reportedly made by President Serzh Sargsyan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a March 19 telephone conversation.