YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian should have participated in the recent NATO summit in Lisbon, even if he had reason to boycott it, Germany’s ambassador to Armenia said on Wednesday.
Sarkisian made the decision in protest against the alliance’s support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity that was voiced in a declaration adopted at the summit. He argued that the NATO document does not refer to two other principles of international law — people’s self-determination and non-use of force — favored by international mediators seeking to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Two of the mediating powers, the United States and France, are key NATO members. The peace proposals on Karabakh put forward by them and Russia are based on the three principles cited by Sarkisian.
“I think that participation in the Lisbon summit would have been more correct. It would have allowed [Armenia] to present its position,” said Ambassador Hans-Jochen Schmidt.
“But I fully understand Armenia’s position that emphasizes the need for a simultaneous and joint application of those three principles,” he told a news conference. “I also think it right … to express a clear position, which is what happened in this case.”
Schmidt revealed that ahead of the November 20-21 summit Yerevan asked the German government to present its position to the heads of NATO members states and governments who gathered in the Portuguese capital. He noted that Germany tends to be more sympathetic towards self-determination, championed by the Armenian side, than territorial integrity.
Sarkisian’s boycott does not seem to have halted Armenia’s deepening cooperation with NATO. The Armenian government announced last week plans to increase the number of Armenian troops serving in Afghanistan under German command.
Schmidt said Berlin, which provides those troops with weapons and ammunition, has yet to decide whether to agree to the additional Armenian deployment. Armenian and German officials are currently discussing the matter, he said.