18 May 2023
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On May 17, 2023, Middle East Political and Economic Institute and the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Romania partnered for a conference organized at Marshal Hotel, in Bucharest.

Centred around Armenia as a country bordering the wider Middle East, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the conference benefitted from the presence of a guest speaker in the person of Prof. Alexander ISKANDARYAN, Founding Director, Caucasus Institute, from Armenia.

The other speakers were as follows:

  • HE Dr. Sergey MINASYAN, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Romania;
  • Flavius CABA-MARIA, President, MEPEI Romania;
  • Adrian SEVERIN, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania;
  • Teodor MELEȘCANU, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania;
  • HE Mrs. Crina PRUNARIU, Former Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Armenia.

The audience was formed by representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to Romania and the local environment, such as academics, businessmen, civil society and mass media representatives.

Speeches at the event focused on the potential impact of conflicts and tensions between the regional countries and the major powers and on the possibility of Armenia becoming an important economic hub between Europe, the Middle East and Asia. For Armenia, the notion of connectivity is a major point on the foreign policy agenda and an asset that the state uses to be able to bring to the fore the local situation and the need to involve external actors, for example the EU, Türkiye (due to its historical ties with Azerbaijan) and Russia, in resolving the conflict with Azerbaijan.

Prof. ISKANDARYAN stated that Armenia is at the beginning of a challenging process that can have multiple outcomes, and making predictions is not reasonable. To illustrate this point, he gave the example of the war in Ukraine.

Moreover, he revealed that the Armenian state considers itself part of Europe, a former Soviet state, but also an integral part of the wider Middle East. For Armenia, the neighborhood and its bilateral relations with it are of major importance. Although the South Caucasus states are not directly affected by the war in the region, they are still concerned about the effects it may have on Russia’s position in the region.

Armenia must pursue its own national interest, and currently, the main goals are the normalization of relations with Türkiye and the resumption of talks with Azerbaijan, which are a sign of the need for stability pursued by Armenia and the paradigm shift regarding the conflict. However, the negotiations with Azerbaijan are non-linear, being mediated by Russia, an aspect that has diminished in the context of the crisis in Ukraine. Prospects for a peaceful resolution of the conflict were followed by escalation, the proposed solution of using economic cooperation not being new. This has the potential to contribute to the creation of a context conducive to negotiations and to the development of mutual trust, for peace and stability in the region. The international community should encourage the peace process in which the three major powers in the neighborhood (Türkiye, Iran, and Russia) play a substantial role in order to promote regional peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Overall, the speakers brought their own experience to the table of discussion and concrete examples to illustrate the main topic.

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