Published on Atlantic Council (http://www.acus.org)
South Caucasus Regional Security
On July 26, 2005, as part of its continuing interest in the South Caucasus, the Black Sea region, and
Central Asia, the Atlantic Council’s International Security Program hosted Dr. David Shahnazarian, former
Minister of National Security of Armenia, and founder of the Armenian National Movement Party. More
than seventy invitees participated in the ninety-minute session, including representatives of the U.S.
Government, Turkey, various policy and academic institutions, and other Caucasus states. Voice of
America and other press agencies also covered the event for distribution in the region.
In his remarks, Dr. Shahnazarian addressed many of the most pressing issues of concern to his nation
and the region. Noting the “dynamically changing geo-political realities” of the area, he underlined
the potential for conflict and highlighted Armenia’s place in promoting stability. As the following quote
illustrates, he emphasized the need for closer collaboration and coordination between Armenia and its
"Establishment of irrevocable democracy, rule of law, free market economy relations and protection of
fundamental human rights and freedoms have not assumed yet key significance in the South Caucasian
countries. As a result all pressing problems of the region are intensifying further, it still continues to
remain politically and economically unstable (we would like to note that so far this instability has been to a
certain extent manageable, both from inside and outside)….
Which are the main problems threatening the stability and regional security in the South Caucasus?I
would like to single main of them: Opposite foreign policy vectors of the South Caucasian states…
Division lines separating Armenia from other countries of the region emerged in 1999, when two of the
three South Caucasian states, Georgia and Azerbaijan, walked out of the Collective Security Treaty (cst)
declaring integration with Euro-Atlantic international security system as their major foreign policy priority.
Armenia continued to remain in the CST together with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and
Tajikistan. In 2003 the CST was reorganized into the regional Collective Security Treaty Organization
Armenian current authorities look today at the csto as the only framework that can ensure the country’s
national security (that is under Russia’s umbrella), while Georgia and Azerbaijan are striving to minimize
threats to their national security by seeking rapprochement with the Euro-Atlantic security system-nato.
There is no doubt that stability in the South Caucasus is possible only when all its three states, Armenia,
Georgia and Azerbaijan, are in the same international security system, and this was confirmed by
Harmonization, synchronization and coordination of foreign policy priorities of all three states are the only
means that can prevent the South Caucasus from developing into the hotbed of geopolitical clashes.
This means that Armenia should revise its foreign policy. Armenia’s Individual Partnership Action Plan
(ipap) with nato, in my view, is not sufficient to achieve this. The official Yerevan has first of all to declare
clearly its intention to join nato, and not only. Armenia should not either ignore other -- still developing-international organizations, which could in future take on key security functions. In this respect Armenia’s
membership in guam (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova), would indicate Yerevan’s desire to
shift towards taking up a realistic foreign policy."
Following his remarks, Dr. Shahnazarian kindly engaged in a fruitful discussion with guests, covering
topics from Turkish-Armenian affairs and the potential resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
through the Minsk process to Armenia’s relationship with Russia and the European Union.
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