Armenia Embraces Parity Principle Says Oskanian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia will not be choosing between the West and the East–but will be establishing parity relations with all countries that take interest in it–Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian said while lecturing at Yerevan State University Tuesday. Relations with one country will not exclude similar relations with another–and this is the parity principle.

Armenia’s foreign policy aims to create a system that would involve the major states of the region into the regional processes. During last year’s OSCE summit in Istanbul–President Robert Kocharian proposed the establishment of a security system that could later grow into a pact. Armenia proposed a "3+3+2" option–i.e. the three Transcaucasian states–plus three neighboring states (Russia–Iran and Turkey)–plus the European Union and the United States. A pact of stability could be made through negotiations with these seven. The Armenia-proposed variant attaches importance to Iran’s participation in regional processes.

Armenia advocates human rights respect and democracy–as well as a peaceful and fair settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Armenia’s most problematic relations in the region are with Turkey. These relations have failed to undergo any positive qualitative changes over the past decade. Though–this is not the case with economic relations–as even in conditions of closed borders Armenia-Turkey trade via air and transit shipmen’s through third countries doubled last year.

Oskanian reiterated the importance of Armenia’s integration into European structures. The minister hopes the issue of Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe will be resolved within the next two months.

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