Armenia’s foreign policy in 2017 - Challenges and opportunities

22 February 2017

Armenia is located in a particularly challenging neighbourhood, surrounded by closed borders, protracted conflicts and three big and capricious powers: Russia, Iran and Turkey. While Armenia has tried to pursue a multi-vector foreign policy, security concerns, not least related to the conflict with its neighbour Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, have increasingly pushed it into Moscow’s orbit. The clearest example of this was Yerevan’s decision to abandon negotiations on an Association Agreement with the EU in September 2013 following pressure from Moscow.

Today, Armenia is a member of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and home to Russia’s 102nd military base at Gyrumi. Nevertheless, Armenia continues to pursue other options in an effort to balance Russia, including with Iran, China, NATO and the EU. Despite the 2013 incident, strengthening cooperation with the EU remains of particular importance. The EU remains one of Armenia’s largest trading partners and the two are currently in the final stages of negotiating a new framework agreement which is expected to be signed later this year.

This Policy Dialogue focused on current trends in Armenian foreign policy, including its relations with the EU, and the likely impact of the forthcoming Parliamentary elections on 2 April on its foreign policy objectives.

Speakers included: Amanda Paul, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, Richard Giragosian, Director of the Regional Studies Center in Yerevan, Dirk Schuebel, Head of Division for Eastern Partnership at the European External Action Service, Stanislav Secrieru, Policy Analyst, Open Society Institute, Dennis Sammut, Director of LINKS