Last week, the United States and Armenia reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral relations in all spheres. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan’s recent visit to Washington and high-level meetings with representatives of the executive and legislative branches, and the warm reception the Armenian diplomat received, especially by Secretary of State Tony Blinken, confirmed that the Caucasus in general and Armenia in particular, are part of US foreign policy interests.
In recent months, Blinken has had multiple telephone conversations with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which is unprecedented in both their frequency and scope. Describing the issues discussed during these talks, the Secretary of State told the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees that the US administration was in talks with Armenia and Azerbaijan to prevent hostilities. “I have spoken many times with the Prime Minister of Armenia Pashinyan and the President of Azerbaijan Aliyev to make sure, first of all, that no one is taking any steps that could lead to the resumption of the conflict,” Blinken told Congress. “We are opposed to any unilateral action, especially by Azerbaijan, which is exacerbating the situation,” he said. Speaking with such clarity about one of the parties and also making it public is a step forward in international relations. Baku was undoubtedly outraged by this, but the message has certainly been conveyed and Aliyev willingly or unwillingly has to heed these warnings.
All this demonstrates that the United States is pursuing a broad-based return to the South Caucasus and is not ready to cede that important region to Russia and Turkey.
These developments should be unequivocally noted as a success of Armenia’s foreign policy, with its ability to forge multipolar relations with all interested countries and international organizations, which are currently in an indirect war against each other. This refers to the hostilities in Ukraine, between Russia on the one hand and the United States and Europe on the other. Despite these complexities, Armenia is able to navigate smoothly, pursuing a foreign policy with others solely in the best interests of the country and its people.
Many Armenian analysts were predicting that the Ukrainian war will place Armenia in a tight spot and would force it to side with Russia and follow Moscow’s directives. However, Prime Minister Pashinyan’s recent visit to Moscow and the alliance agreements signed there did not prevent Minister Mirzoyan from visiting the US capital, signing bilateral agreements, and emphasizing the importance of the close relations between the two countries. The same goes for the involvement of the Council of Europe and the recent Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting in Brussels at the invitation of the organization’s head Charles Michel.
The Armenian government is succeeding in pursuing an independent foreign policy because it enjoys the backing of the majority of the people, which is visible these days on the streets of Yerevan, where the opposition is unable to generate much support. Given this reality, all influential capitals are willing to help to establish peace within the region. It remains for Yerevan to use its international relations to guarantee the security of Artsakh and the protection of its people’s rights, during the upcoming negotiations with Azerbaijan.