Oskanian Foreign Minister Outlines Key Points of Foreign Policy

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–speaking at the head office of the Youth Party of Armenia–said that four tasks are currently on the agenda of the country’s foreign policy.

The first task is to ensure territorial integrity and national security in Armenia. Oskanian said there is a serious threat created by Azerbaijan and Turkey and to oppose this threat Armenia’s foreign policy must be targeted at developing clear-cut measures. The best option–according to Oskanian–is the quickest solution to the Karabakh problem acceptable for all sides concerned. Oskanian said that only through the resolution of the conflict will it be possible to ensure lasting peace and stability in the region. However–Oskanian said–that events are currently developing in an unfavorable way and it is not clear–yet when a solution acceptable to all the parties will be found.

Oskanian said that proceeding this–Armenia must take advantage of security possibilities provided by Russia and the West. Armenia is currently walking this path. The country is boosting its cooperation with Russia in accordance with a Treaty signed between the two countries. Armenia has started serious cooperation with NATO and NATO-member countries through the Partnership for Peace program.

"We are trying to create such conditions with the help of which we would be able to oppose those major threats which may come from Azerbaijan and Turkey," Oskanian said.

The second task–Oskanian said–is the development of the country’s economy which is closely related to the former task . "Without a stable economy it is difficult to ensure our security for a long time. To keep an army is a heavy task," Oskanian noted. For a country to achieve an average European level–an annual per capita income must total $10,000–while monthly income must be around $800. To ensure these figures–Armenia’s GDP must total $30 billion–while currently it makes up only $1.5 billion.

He stressed that the domestic market cannot ensure a necessary level of demand.

According to Oskanian–the current foreign policy must ensure markets–communications and investment in Armenia. He noted that TRACECA is one of the ways to solve the problems Armenia is facing.

The third task is to create conditions for the development of Armenia’s economy. According to Oskanian–with its foreign policy–Armenia must promote the elimination of polarization in the region. "The psychology of the cold war still persists and it is encouraged by our neighbors–mostly by Azerbaijan. We must struggle against it and exclude any polarization," Oskanian maintained. According to the Foreign Minister–Armenia must contribute to equal development of the economies of all countries of the region–as well as promote creation of favorable conditions for the establishment of democracy–human rights and free market relations. Oskanian believes that if one of the countries embarks on a path of authoritarian regime–this will in no way promote creation of favorable conditions.

The fourth task of Armenia’s foreign policy is the commitment to national values. According to Oskanian–it is necessary to disseminate among people an idea that democracy–human rights and the establishment of free market relations are national values. "Democracy–human rights–free market relations and our domestic stability must become the cornerstones upon which our economy and political institutes are built," Oskanian said.

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