Thursday, July 31, 2014


Armenia

Armenia Says Not Aiming For NATO, EU Membership

<div class="caption"><div class="watermark"> <a href="http://gdb.rferl.org/E57A31CF-6590-4030-9FEB-CA6E5BF76A93_mw800_mh600.jpg" rel="ibox" title="Kocharian (left) with Russia's Vladimir Putin earlier this year (epa)"> <img alt="Kocharian (left) with Russia's Vladimir Putin earlier this year (epa)" src="http://gdb.rferl.org/E57A31CF-6590-4030-9FEB-CA6E5BF76A93_w203.jpg" class="photo" border="0"></a></div><p>Kocharian (left) with Russia's Vladimir Putin earlier this year (epa)</p></div>July 16, 2007 (RFE/RL) - Armenian President Robert Kocharian says his country has no intention of joining NATO.


In remarks published on July 15 by the German magazine "Der Spiegel," Kocharian said NATO membership would harm Armenia's relations with neighboring countries and would do little to improve its national security.


Kocharian said Armenia is currently not aiming for EU membership either. "We are realistic," he said.


Although Kocharian's remarks do not represent a shift in Armenia's foreign policy, they are more blunt than previous declarations. Analysts in Armenia believe the president, whose term of office ends next year, has decided to stress relations with Russia as Armenia's highest foreign-policy priority.


At the same time, Armenia is concerned about maintaining relations with Iran, a major strategic and trading partner.


Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, who seems poised to succeed Kocharian as president, told Reuters recently that NATO membership would not guarantee Armenia's security. He noted that NATO member Turkey has been keeping Armenia's border closed for years and added that Turkey is not a "predictable" factor, noting that Turkey was a NATO member when the Cyprus conflict erupted in 1974.


Public opinion in Armenia remains divided on the issue of NATO membership. A recent poll organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the International Republican Institute found that 40 percent of Armenians think the country "definitely" or "probably" should join the alliance, while 45 percent said it "definitely" or "probably" should not. The same poll found that 80 percent of Armenians favor EU membership.

Iran: Missiles And More

Iran tests its Shahab-3 medium-range missile in November 2006 (AFP)

HOW LONG A REACH? As the debate on missile defense sharpens, Tehran continues to develop its Shahab-3 missile, which is already capable of reaching some parts of Europe.... (more)


RELATED ARTICLES

 

Independent Nuclear Physicist Evaluates Iran's Nuclear Program  

 Iran Rocket Launch Another Show Of Prowess

How Close Is Iran To Getting Nuclear Bomb?

Iran's Super Weapons Claims Met With Skepticism

Click to enlarge the image.

Most Popular