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Armenian FM affirms Yerevan’s non-interest in joining NATO

Armenia’s Foreign Minister emphasizes that his country regards the United States and Europe as its principal allies, reaffirming its diplomatic priorities amid discussions about Armenia’s stance on NATO.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan attends a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart following their talks in Yerevan on June 9, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that Yerevan is engaged in collaboration with NATO across multiple domains, such as peacekeeping endeavors, but it has no plans to become a member of the alliance.

Mirzoyan, speaking to Argentine broadcaster TN on Sunday, affirmed that his country has collaborated with NATO, and has been actively engaging in peacekeeping endeavors. He also added that Armenia’s involvement extended to missions in Afghanistan, and it has recently increased the number of peacekeepers stationed in Kosovo.

“… If you mean the application or aspiration to become a member in NATO – no, there is no such point in our agenda now,” he stressed.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Armenian minister stated that Yerevan views the United States and Europe as its primary partners.

“And now we are deepening our economic relations, political dialogue with the European Union, with the United States. I would not name this [process a] switch [in political course] … we are trying to ensure our security, but also we are trying to develop democratic path … we see that we have several other partners in the West,” Mirzoyan added.

Contradictory statements: Armenia’s NATO position

On March 9, Mirzoyan told Turkish broadcaster TRT World that Armenia is considering applying for membership in the European Union and is holding major internal discussions on the matter.

“Well, especially having in mind all the challenges that we have been facing during a recent couple of years, three years, four years, many new opportunities are largely being discussed in Armenia nowadays,” Mirzoyan said in a YouTube interview.

“That will not be a secret if I said that [they include] an idea such as also membership in the European Union. I can only add that the people of Armenia do have European aspirations… We are passing through a process, and we will see. No one can be sure or no one can predict the end of this process,” he added.

The minister also believed that there exist opportunities to broaden cooperation with European countries, mainly France, and the United States. This would also include strategic talks with Washington.

Closer to Washington

In February 2023, Armenian parliamentary speaker Alen Simonyan stated that Armenia would take action to best ensure its complete security when questioned about plans to strengthen relations with the EU.

Relations between Yerevan and Russia deteriorated last year, leading to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan suspending the country’s participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization CSTO during the same months. But a full withdrawal from the body is yet to be declared by Armenia.

Pashinyan accuses Russia of failing to commit to its obligations regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Armenia lost control over to Azerbaijan last September, and later formally acknowledged it as part of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory.

Meanwhile, Yerevan drew closer to Washington, with the two countries conducting joint military exercises in Armenia last December.

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