879) Evolution of Armenia's Foreign Policy, Tiffany G. Petros, Working Paper

DFI International

The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Armenian International Policy Research Group. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate. . .

This paper will examine the evolution of Armenian foreign policy since the country gained independence in 1991. Barry Buzan's framework for understanding state security will be used to examine the political and economic threats driving Armenian foreign policy. Two important principals have shaped Armenian foreign policy in the past decade including: efforts to normalize relations with neighboring countries and the desire to integrate independent Armenia into the international community. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Armenia found itself landlocked and surrounded by unreliable neighbors. Georgia, to the North, struggled to maintain control of its territory. Turkey and Azerbaijan, to the West and East, shared a history of enmity with Armenia complicated by the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and subsequent economic blockade. Iran, to the South, sought influence in the region, yet was perceived unfavorably by much of the international community. An examination of these relations and their impact on Armenia's state security will be considered.

Armenia's security has also been influenced by shifting relations with Russia and the United States. Interest in the Caucasus region has been particularly great in the post-September 11th period. Russia continues to consider the region an area of vital interest, yet U.S. troops have made an unprecedented move into the region in order to train local forces in the fight against terrorism. Armenia has cooperated in the fight against terror by opening its airspace to the U.S. military, while simultaneously maintaining close political and economic ties with Russia. Immediately following independence, Armenia began to move away from its Russian partner, but soon realized that it was not in a geo-political position to isolate itself from the regional power. The impact of Armenian-Russian and Armenian-U.S. relations on the state's security will be discussed.

After examining the evolution of Armenia's bilateral relations in the post-Soviet period, this paper will focus its attention on Armenia's membership in or cooperation with international organizations including: NATO's Partnership for Peace Program, the Council of Europe, and the World Trade Organization. Armenia's affiliation and/or cooperation with these and other international organizations has not only helped the country to improve multilateral ties, but has influenced domestic thinking on issues such as democracy and human rights. Increased participation in international organizations remains an important foreign policy objective.

tpetros at dfi-intl.com
January 2003

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