In 2014, at the United Nations General Assembly, Armenia voted against recognizing Russia’s referendum in Crimea as illegal. At the time, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan served as Armenia's permanent representative to the UN. Today, Mnatsakanyan is the Minister of Foreign Affairs in a new government that formed in the wake of the Armenian revolution in the spring, which ousted former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.
From left to right: adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Arsen Kharatyan, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Ruben Rubinyan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Tigran Balayan during a press conference on July 18. Photo credit: Armenian Foreign Ministry / Twitter
Following Russia’s occupation of the peninsula, Sargsyan, in a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, called the referendum the people’s "democratic expression of will".
Hromadske questioned Armenia’s new authorities on their position on Crimea.
Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Ruben Rubinyan said the government’s position on Crimea remained in line with the former regime.
Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Ruben Rubinyan speaks during a press conference on July 18. Photo credit: Ostap Yarysh / Hromadske
Arsen Kharatyan, adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, said while it was Armenia’s old government that voted on the resolution, there would be no change in foreign policy on this matter.
He then pointed to Ukraine’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that has been a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ukraine and other UN member states do not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as a republic and consider it a part of Azerbaijan.
“If we want to change our versatile engagement in international organizations where our countries have an obligation, if we want to change the dynamics of voting, let's talk,” he said.
Nevertheless, he believed the relationship between Ukraine and Armenia would develop dynamically. According to Kharatyan, Armenia’s new leader Nikol Pashinyan met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during the NATO summit in Brussels earlier this month and was invited to Ukraine.
Arsen Kharatyan, adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, speaks during a press conference on July 18. Photo credit: Ostap Yarysh / Hromadske
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Tigran Balayan said there won’t be a clear answer on the matter.
“You are now asking a third, fourth question: how Armenia’s new authorities relate to the question of Crimea, whether they recognize (Russia) as an occupier or not,” he said.
“I told you how the previous administration positioned itself on the matter. Now, with your persistence and stubbornness, you could harm our relations with Ukraine or with Russia.”
/By Ostap Yarysh
/Translated and adapted by Natalie Vikhrov