Armenia's intervention in South Ossetia crisis to damage national interests

Hayots Ashkharh, Yerevan
30 Jul 04


Text of Vardan Grigoryan's report by Armenian newspaper Hayots Ashkharh
on 30 July headlined "Games of strangers, our interests are different"

In the whole post-Soviet area, beginning from the Dniestr Republic to
Nagornyy Karabakh, political, economic and even military pressure on
unrecognized republics is growing day by day. In such conditions, some
people are trying again to deepen cooperation between South Ossetia,
Abkhazia, the Dniestr Republic and Nagornyy Karabakh, which started in
the 1990s, and even to lend it a military angle.

This could explain the recent statement by the leader of South
Ossetia, Eduard Kokoiti, who said that the aforesaid four republics
have made an arrangement to assist each other, including in the
military sphere. Undoubtedly, one can understand the aspiration of the
South Ossetian leader, in conditions of growing pressure from Georgia,
to increase by as many as possible the number of countries and peoples
that would be ready to support South Ossetia. Today it may be
absolutely realistic that for instance, the peoples of the
northwestern Caucasus and Abkhazia might support South Ossetia if the
settlement to the conflict turns into a military confrontation again.

But we think that it is not so serious to speak about Nagornyy
Karabakh's possible intervention in the Georgian-Ossetian
conflict. The time of international brigades passed a long time
ago. The time has also passed when it was possible to use the forces
of foreign communities living in unrecognized post-Soviet countries
for their own purpose. In this sense, the recent statement of Georgian
Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili in Yerevan that in some way, the
settlement to the Abkhaz issue is connected with Armenia as well
should be taken into account and at the same time, regarded as
unacceptable. Undoubtedly, Armenia has some influence on its
compatriots living in Abkhazia, but it cannot use them as a tool for
turning the situation to Georgia's advantage in the Georgia-Abkhazia
conflict. This is as dangerous as Nagornyy Karabakh's intervention in
the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. And the point is not about promoting
or damaging Armenian-Georgian relations. The point is that today the
interests of unrecognized republics are becoming an integral part of
the general interests of the main nation that lives there. That is to
say, the interests of Nagornyy Karabakh are closely connected with the
Armenian nation, as integration into Armenia meets national
interests. Finally, in the modern world, the state which represents a
certain nation in the world expresses its national interests. So,
irrespective of whether the Armenian nation presents its interests to
the world community by means of one or two states, it is no longer
possible to separate them from each other. And today the national
interests of Armenia, i.e. of Nagornyy Karabakh require not support
for any party in the Georgian-Ossetian or Georgian-Abkhaz conflicts,
but the promotion of their peaceful settlement as soon as
possible. This could explain the recent efforts of the Armenian party
directed at bringing together the positions of Georgia and Russia on
lifting the blockade of the railway via Abkhazia and on ensuring the
return of Georgian refugees. Such a position is the only expedient
solution that stems from the current situation, irrespective of the
extent to which such a mission softens disagreements between the two
countries and prevents a possible clash between Tbilisi and Sukhumi.

As for Nagornyy Karabakh's participation in the bloc of unrecognized
republics, Armenia's direct or indirect (with the help of the Abkhaz
Armenians) intervention in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict is
tantamount to destroying our national interests or even to
disregarding them.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress