Armenian citizens are preparing to head to the polls on June 20, 2021, in an early parliamentary election. A record number of political forces are taking part in this highly contested and polarized election. Although there is only one week before Election Day, not all of the parties have published their election programs. Taking into consideration the post-war situation, the polarization of society, the tense campaign period and the large number of undecided voters, EVN Report has translated and compiled certain thematic sections of the programs [foreign relations, defense and security, economy, education and healthcare] of seven of those political forces in order of their position on the ballot. They include: the Armenian National Congress, Civil Contract Party, I’m Honored Alliance, Bright Armenia Party, Prosperous Armenia Party, Citizen’s Decision Party and Armenia Alliance.
Here we present the party and alliance programs on foreign policy.
Here we present the party and alliance programs on defense and security.
Armenian National Congress
Under the current regime, Armenia has deviated from the main road of global processes, has been condemned to political and economic isolation, left out of regional development programs and appeared among the backward countries of the Third World. The foreign policy of the Republic of Armenia should be aimed at ensuring lasting peace and economic cooperation in the region and the world. Accordingly, the following stand out among foreign policy issues in order of their importance:
– Restoration of balanced and constructive diplomacy based on national interests; striving for friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries; cooperation “by all means.”
– Close cooperation with major actors in international politics: Military partnerships, strengthening of bilateral and collective security systems, and economic cooperation with Russia; economic cooperation and development of democracy and free market economy with the European Union, its member states, and the United States; cooperation with NATO; strengthening economic and political ties with China.
We are in favor of all processes of regional cooperation and integration, the expansion of free trade in all directions, the deepening of European integration and the strengthening of integration within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
– Fulfillment of obligations to international organizations.
– Strengthening and deepening of good-neighborly relations with immediate neighbors: Russia, Georgia, Iran; making constructive efforts to normalize relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan.
– Overcoming the political and economic isolation of Armenia; increasing the level of the country’s involvement in international and regional economic systems.
– Demonstration of political will in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict: protecting the right of the Armenians of Artsakh to self-determination and seeking a solution to the issue based on mutual compromise.
– It is the task of the Republic of Armenia to promote the strengthening of the educational, spiritual and cultural institutions of the Diaspora, the promotion of closer inter-community ties and active cooperation, while avoiding interference in inter-community relations. Armenia must respond quickly to any manifestations of xenophobia and other threats to Armenian communities in any country, to restrictions on rights. Armenia must encourage repatriation by creating economic and social opportunities for Armenians returning to their homeland.
Civil Contract Party
Armenian-Russian Strategic Alliance
The capacity of the Russian 102nd military base in Armenia will be expanded, as part of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation; the joint grouping of the armed forces of Armenia and Russia, and based on the agreements of the collective security in the Caucasus region to establish a unified regional anti-aircraft defense system. Garrisons of the Russian 102nd military base have been established in the Goris-Sisian regions of the Syunik region, and Russian peacekeepers are safeguarding the state border of Armenia in a number of parts of Syunik.
Armenia’s CSTO Membership
Armenia will continue to be actively involved in the activities of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and to further enhance the foundations of the organization to best reflect the interests and common goals of member states.
Creating a Regionally Stable Environment and Unblocking Regional Infrastructure
Establishing regional stability and unblocking the region are strong guarantees of Armenia’s security, and should therefore be one of the priorities of Armenia’s foreign policy. At the same time, this process cannot take place at the expense of the security and interests of Armenia and Artsakh, but on the contrary, must contribute to their strengthening.
Our foreign policy efforts to unblock the region, if approached constructively by other actors, can lead to additional guarantees for Armenia’s security. This will contribute to increasing Armenia’s regional role, the development of infrastructure, increased economic capacity and shaping an atmosphere of peaceful, mutually beneficial coexistence in the region. From this point of view, the full and unconditional implementation of the steps noted in the trilateral statements signed by the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan on November 9, 2021 and on January 11, 2021 is crucial.
OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs
The role of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, clarifying the final status of Artsakh, and ensuring regional stability and security is key; and Armenia will contribute to the effective functioning of this framework.
Active and Effective Involvement of Foreign Policy in All Areas
For us, one of the important goals of foreign policy is the continuous development of Armenia’s bilateral and multilateral relations and effective cooperation with countries and organizations in all regions of the world. In this context too, mutually beneficial and substantial cooperation with our key partners is an important component of Armenia’s security architecture.
What We Are Going to Do
Armenia’s foreign policy is based on the collective interests of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people.
Our foreign policy guideline is to ensure the rights, security and interests of the Republic of Armenia, the people of Artsakh, as well as the Diaspora. One of the main priorities of the foreign and security policy will be the peaceful and comprehensive settlement of the Karabakh conflict, ensuring the security of the people of Artsakh through the realization of the right of the Artsakh Armenians to self-determination, the preservation of cultural and religious heritage and the solution of humanitarian problems. The Republic of Armenia will use all its potential to achieve these goals.
- The process of the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide will continue to be among our foreign policy priorities. The universal recognition of the indisputable fact of the Armenian Genocide will contribute to stability and security of the region, reconciliation and solidarity of peoples, as well as the prevention of such crimes. Armenia will continue to actively contribute to the efforts by the international community to prevent genocides, crimes against humanity, and to combat discrimination and intolerance on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, race or intolerance.
- In all areas of the Armenia-Russia bilateral cooperation agenda, including military, political, economic, energy, transport and humanitarian spheres, we will continue to strengthen and expand allied relations and strategic partnership with Russia. We will take steps to intensify Armenian-Russian political dialogue at the highest level, to further deepen cooperation with Russia in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), CSTO and other multilateral platforms.
- We will work diligently to develop and deepen our friendly partnership with the U.S. by expanding cooperation on democratic reform, the rule of law, and the fight against corruption, as well as economic and political dialogue. Armenia will continue cooperation with the U.S., including as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, for the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
- We will continue bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the European Union and its member states, based on the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and other agreements. We will continue Armenia-EU institutional cooperation to overcome existing sectoral challenges, as well as launch a dialogue on visa liberalization for the citizens of the Republic of Armenia.
- We will continue to strengthen privileged relations with France as a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group and take concrete steps to deepen economic relations. We also emphasize the more active involvement of Armenia in the work of the International Organization of la Francophonie.
- We will further develop special relations with Islamic Republic of Iran, emphasizing its regional role regardless of geopolitical influences. We will take active steps to increase economic cooperation, including implementation of regional projects of mutual interest including infrastructure development, transport interconnection and energy. Special attention will be paid to the construction of the “Persian Gulf-Sea” transport corridor.
- We will ensure the further development of special relations with Georgia, regardless of geopolitical influences; of mutual vital importance is in the spheres of security, economic, communication, cultural, humanitarian and tourism. Strengthening mutual trust, ongoing dialogue and cooperation between the two countries will contribute to regional stability.
- Armenia prioritizes the full implementation of the trilateral statements signed by the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan on November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021, which can be a stimulus for the establishment of a “lasting” peace of regional stability. This can only be achieved through the constructive efforts of all parties and the creation of an appropriate environment.
- The destructive actions of the Turkish leadership, in particular, the ongoing economic blockade of Armenia, its open support to Azerbaijan in the 44-day war, as well as its anti-Armenian policy have negatively impacted the peace process in the region. Armenia has always been ready to normalize relations with Turkey without preconditions, which is in the interests of regional stability, security and economic development. Normalization of relations can take place if appropriate constructive steps are taken by Turkey.
- We will take the initiative to strengthen friendly and mutually beneficial relations with China, India and Japan.
- We will contribute to the expansion of cooperation in the spheres of mutual interest with traditionally friendly countries of the Near and Middle East, to ensure the security of our compatriots living in conflict zones and the protection of their interests.
- We will develop cooperation with the countries of the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.
- Within the framework of the EAEU, we will continue to discuss initiatives of mutually beneficial cooperation aimed at maximizing opportunities provided by the organization and increasing the trade turnover between partner countries.
- Armenia will continue to take an active part in ongoing processes of the CIS and continue to develop bilateral relations with the CIS countries.
- Armenia is committed to the fundamental values of the United Nations, highly appreciating the role of the organization in the field of international peace, cooperation between peoples, human rights and humanitarian issues.
- We will pursue continuation of political dialogue with NATO, the implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan.
- We will continue to actively participate in the ongoing processes within the OSCE, given the fact that a peaceful, comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be provided within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
New Approaches in Diplomacy
While Armenia’s diplomatic system is an established institution with traditions, it is necessary to carry out reforms in formulating, managing and implementing foreign policy. In this regard, in the next five years we will emphasize the development of economic, digital and legal diplomacy.
- We will modernize the mechanisms and processes of economic diplomacy, creating more favorable conditions for Armenia’s development; significantly increasing foreign investments, foreign trade, promoting the exchange of advanced technologies and experience, cooperation in research and development, increasing tourism, and promoting cooperation between Armenian and foreign businesses.
- To not lag behind revolutionary developments in the world, we will pay great attention to digital diplomacy, promoting the digitalization of diplomacy and the role of diplomacy in the development of digital technologies.
- For small states in particular, international law and the strengthening of the international legal regime are important tools to protect foreign policy interests. We will develop the toolkit of legal diplomacy in foreign policy, the coordinated and effective use of which will provide an opportunity to promote and advance the issues and problems of concern to the Armenians, to protect the interests of Armenia and Artsakh.
Due to the 44-day war, the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh suffered great losses, including territorial and material losses. Thousands of citizens of Armenia and Artsakh sacrificed their lives for the sake of their homeland, the security and welfare of the people. However, our people and the army were able to prevent the complete eviction of the Armenians from Artsakh, the destruction of the statehood of Artsakh.
The Republic of Azerbaijan, with the direct involvement of Turkey and with the assistance of mercenary terrorists, tried to resolve the Karabakh conflict by force, thus violating the international legal principle of non-use of force or threat of force. Through all the mechanisms provided by international law, we will pursue the prosecution of war crimes during the aggression.
- Our main task in the coming years should be to eliminate the consequences of the catastrophic war, ensuring the security of the people of Artsakh and the peaceful, comprehensive settlement of the Karabakh conflict based on the self-determination of the people of Artsakh without restrictions. The fact that all the territories of Artsakh, where Azerbaijani control was established, were evacuated due to mass human rights violations and massacres, indicates that the people of Artsakh can not survive under the subordination of Azerbaijan.
- We see the final settlement of the Karabakh conflict in the form of the full realization of the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination, the final clarification of the status of Artsakh, guided by the principle of “remedial secession.” The principle of remedial secession gives peoples the right to secede from any state when there is a risk of discrimination, widespread human rights violations or genocide, and to exclude union with a state if the union is to have the above consequences.
- We will focus on the post-war reconstruction of Artsakh, revitalization of the economy, resolving socioeconomic challenges of the displaced population and the preservation of cultural and religious heritage. We will spare no effort to create dignified and prosperous living conditions in Artsakh. We will achieve these goals by deepening cooperation with the Artsakh authorities, as well as by creating new dimensions of cooperation with Artsakh.
- The Republic of Armenia will continue to be the guarantor of the security of the people of Artsakh and will continue to work for the protection of the rights of the people of Artsakh. We will deepen cooperation with Artsakh in the security and military spheres. We will provide active assistance to Artsakh to rebuild the Defense Army and increase its efficiency.
- We consider the long-term presence of the Russian peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone to be a key factor in ensuring the security of Artsakh. We will guarantee the existence of all the necessary conditions for the uninterrupted and unhindered operation of the peacekeeping mission.
- For the exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we attach key importance to conducting substantive talks within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs; the only accepted international framework for the settlement of the issue.
- One of Armenia’s priorities in the negotiation process will be the de-occupation of the territories on which the people of Artsakh have self-determined, first of all the return of the former NKAO settlements under the control of Artsakh through peaceful negotiations, which will allow the displaced people to return to their homes.
I’m Honored Alliance
The goal of the foreign policy is to advance the national and state interests of Armenia and Armenians in all possible international and transnational platforms.
Foreign Policy Issues
Further deepening of relations with partner countries, allies and structures; elaboration of new directions of partnership, establishment of effective dialogue with countries, in particular:
1. The Russian Federation is the strategic partner and ally of the Republic of Armenia. Our relations should develop naturally and deepen in all spheres with the aim of cooperating closely to neutralize regional challenges. Security cooperation must be elevated to a new level. The temporary setbacks in the political life of the two countries cannot call into question Armenian-Russian relations that have been based on mutual trust and friendship. Cooperation in the field of security should be based on the principles of the full satisfaction of mutual needs, responding to actual and potential threats.
2. Armenia must act as a full, active and proactive member of the CSTO, EAEU and CIS. Armenia should make every effort to develop their structures, strengthen and elevate their international prestige. An important component of Armenia’s foreign policy should be the inclusion of important issues for Armenia on the agendas of these institutions.
3. Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran are linked by friendly relations of two centuries-old peoples, which have a great potential for deepening. Cooperation with Iran should be aimed at keeping bilateral relations free from the influence of third countries and be exemplary of the ongoing dialogue between civilizations for the world. In the context of regional developments, Armenian-Iranian cooperation must take into account mutual interests. The Armenia-Iran-Greece trilateral cooperation should be deepened; Armenia should initiate stable cooperation among Iran, Russia and itself.
4. The development of a close partnership and friendly relations with Georgia is of paramount importance for Armenia and the Armenian people. Complementary relations between two neighboring countries with different integration vectors must always be aimed at development, free from any destructive external influence. An open and sincere dialogue should be the basis of our relations, which will contribute to the deepening and development of cooperation in various fields.
5. Armenia’s foreign policy priority should be the development and deepening of cooperation with the European Union in all spheres, continuously modernizing the legal framework that provides the basis for it. Bilateral cooperation with EU countries, multilateral cooperation with European (Euro-Atlantic) structures should be based on common values, serving to continue sectoral reforms in Armenia and the promotion of important agendas.
6. Cooperation with the United States is an important area of Armenia’s foreign policy. Armenia-U.S. relations should include all possible areas of cooperation, ensuring the dynamics of continuous development in all issues that do not conflict with Armenia’s other commitments.
7. Armenia’s relations with China, based on historical ties, should have a rich and varied agenda. The current level of relations does not reflect the real potential of bilateral cooperation. Armenia should take the initiative to develop its relations with China.
8. Azerbaijan must face the consequences of provoking three wars against Artsakh. Azerbaijan must abandon its fanatical policy in the context of the Artsakh conflict. The final settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the sustainable development of the region is possible only through the security of the people of Artsakh and the perpetuation of all fundamental rights, including the people of Artsakh’s right to self-determination. Azerbaijan must return the territories occupied during the war. Armenia, with the support of the international community, must prevent any ambition and/or encroachment by Azerbaijan over Armenia’s sovereignty. The peaceful coexistence of the two peoples and the sustainable development of the region are possible, but can only be realized if the Azerbaijani government renounces its policy of Armenophobia and blackmail. The implementation of infrastructure projects in the region should be based on mutual trust, constructive dialogue and good-neighborly relations.
9. Turkey’s direct assistance to Azerbaijan before and after the war, including the transfer of terrorists to the region, has once again demonstrated that Turkey is a threat to regional peace and sustainable development including Turkey’s hostile attitude towards Armenia, the blockade, its unconditional support to Azerbaijan, the use of force, the inability to face its own history in the Armenian Genocide, the inability to neutralize its consequences and the unwillingness to pursue Armenian-Turkish rapprochement. Nevertheless, a toolkit for direct communication with Turkish society, presentation of our approaches and ideas should be developed, which will contribute to the establishment of a dialogue between the communities.
10. The Middle East has unique potential for Armenia. The invaluable support shown to the Armenian people during difficult historical stages cannot be forgotten. There is a strong tradition of supporting each other, which must continue. The development of friendly relations with the Arab world, the promotion of joint agendas should always be at the center of Armenia’s attention.
11. Armenia must be proactive and develop active political relations in all regions, based on specificities and priorities. To be left out of global projects will mean missed opportunities. The focus should be on traditional relations with Latin America, the African continent and the Far East. Special attention should be paid to the ongoing development of relations with India and Japan.
The principles in the field of foreign policy are:
● Armenia is a predictable and reliable country for all partners;
● Exemplify activity and initiative in foreign policy;
● Multilayered promotion of interests in foreign relations.
The Artsakh Issue
As a result of the uninformed and irresponsible foreign policy of the authorities of the Republic of Armenia from 2018-2020, Azerbaijan and Turkey had the opportunity to organize a large-scale military aggression against Artsakh, resulting in heavy human losses and material damage leading to a deep crisis.
The main task is to overcome that crisis and return the Artsakh issue to a normal settlement process based on the following approaches:
1. The results of the 44-day war due to the Azerbaijani-Turkish military aggression cannot change the scope, logic and principles of the settlement, which are based on the basic norms of international law.
2. According to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and other representatives of the international community, although a ceasefire was established due to the efforts of Russia, the issue is not resolved. This should be done within the framework of the Minsk Group’s negotiating document, based on the three principles, respecting the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination.
3. Relevant Armenian structures should be active in international organizations to ensure the condemnation of the military aggression of Azerbaijan and Turkey from September 27 to November 9, 2020, including the involvement of terrorist groups, the shelling of civilian buildings, hospitals, sanctuaries and the use of unauthorized weapons in the attempted genocide of the people of Artsakh.
4. As a result of the activities in international structures by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and other state bodies, the territories of the occupied regions of Shushi, Hadrut, Martakert, Martuni and Askeran, and the cities of Shushi and Hadrut must be returned to Artsakh through the pressure of those structures.
5. In order to ensure the security of the Artsakh Republic, the Republic of Armenia should support the long-term presence of Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh, ensuring they secure OSCE mission status.
6. The Republic of Armenia must support the reconstruction of Artsakh’s infrastructure and buildings, the restoration of the Defense Army, the strengthening of defense positions, the return of all refugees to their places of residence, the establishment of dignified living conditions and security guarantees.
7. Armenia must make the greatest contribution to strengthening the unity of the societies of Armenia and Artsakh.
Bright Armenia Party
- Clarification of general and specific foreign policy directions; clarification of foreign policy activities with strategic partners, allies, friends and neighbors; implementation of a policy of predictability and trust;
- Armenia’s more active participation and increased efficiency in international organizations, involving NGOs and individuals in those efforts;
- Improving the efficiency and quality of diplomacy; modernization of the training system for specialists;
- The activation of diplomatic and other foreign policy instruments in the Middle East;
- Clarification and continuous development of strategic, allied relations with Russia;
- Clarification and continuous development of deep and comprehensive partnership with the EU. The implementation of CEPA, in accordance with the roadmap;
- Clarification and continuous development of partnership relations with the U.S., China, Iran and Georgia;
- Organization of necessary international legal and political processes to address crimes against humanity and other violations of international law committed by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the Republic of Artsakh, the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people
- The discovery of Diaspora’s potential, development and state-building of Armenia, and direct or indirect involvement with the concept of the “Influential Nation”
Taking into account existing and new international and regional challenges, risks associated with the current global crisis and the emergence of a new world order, the Republic of Armenia and the people, as well as the Armenians around the world, are obliged to pursue a balanced, flexible and far-sighted foreign policy guaranteeing the country’s stable security and development.
From defensive, narrow, one-tier diplomacy to multi-layered foreign policy of global cooperation.
In the sphere of foreign policy, Bright Armenia will:
- Ensure the security of the country, the people of the Republic of Armenia and guarantee the effective and multifaceted applicability of diplomacy;
- Use all its tools and resources to serve the sovereignty, integrity and freedom of the Republic of Armenia;
- Ensure the sustainable socio-economic development of the Republic of Armenia with all its resources;
- Guarantee and ensure the stable and consistent betterment of Armenia’s reputation (prestige);
- Contribute to the dissemination of Armenian culture and art throughout the world, thus making available to humanity the historical and cultural heritage of the Armenian people;
- Make a serious contribution to the rapid development of science and education in the Republic of Armenia.
The foreign policy of the Republic of Armenia should spare no effort to achieve a just and permanent solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by harmonizing its programs and actions with the relevant bodies of the Artsakh Republic.
The Republic of Armenia can pursue a successful foreign policy only with an effective domestic economic and democratic policy.
The Bright Armenia Party will pursue state-building with a combination of institutions, the rule of law, effective international experience of democracy, and our best national features and interests.
Increase efficiency by:
- Strengthening diplomatic education in Armenia;
- Replenishing the diplomatic corps with new staff;
- More proactive and effective use of existing levers, structures, platforms and toolkits in favor of pro-Armenian decisions, resolutions and building a common position.
Development and introduction of a new foreign policy concept, where:
- Special attention will be paid to strategic clarification and development of partnership principles;
- Armenia-Russia relations will be brought to a qualitatively new level by deepening relations. A new security agreement will be envisaged, the entire legal framework of Russia-Armenia relations will be renewed, including the deployment of a new Russian military base in the Syunik region to ensure the effective operation of the peacekeeping forces in Artsakh, guarantee the security of the border areas of Syunik;
- Clarify and develop further comprehensive partnership relations with the EU, with existing mechanisms within the framework of CEPA. Deepen development and implementation of joint socio-economic, cultural, scientific-educational programs with EU countries;
- Special attention will be paid to the clarification and continuous development of relations with the United States, the development of cooperation within the framework of economic, cultural and regional development programs will continue;
- It is necessary to deepen friendly relations with France further in all possible directions; assess potential of the partnership with the People’s Republic of China, with special attention to cooperation within the framework of large infrastructure projects; deepen friendly relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Georgia.
- Implementation of mutually beneficial investment programs, development of cultural ties and enrichment with the countries of the Middle East with the goal of increasing the level of Armenian representation;
- Foreign policy will be active in developing relations with India.
Armenia’s relations with international and regional organizations should benefit the Republic of Armenia, its population and all Armenians. Special attention should be paid to clarifying and increasing the efficiency Armenia’s involvement in CSTO, CIS and EAEU. Diplomatic work within the OSCE must be intensified and made more effective. “Partnership for Peace” program to continue developing mutually beneficial relations with NATO.
One of the goals of Armenia’s foreign policy should be the initiation of international legal and political processes to hold Azerbaijan and Turkey responsible for violations of international law and crimes committed against the Republic of Artsakh, the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people.
One of the foreign policy priorities is the initiation of legal processes for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and holding Turkey responsible.
Prosperous Armenia Party (PAB)
Today, more than ever, the stable and dynamic development of the Armenian-Russian relations is crucial. The Prosperous Armenia Party finds that as a guarantor of the security of the Republic of Armenia, the presence of the Russian Federation in our country should reach the maximum level. This process is a top priority, especially for our homeland in such a difficult post-war period. In this context, it is necessary to sign a new military-political agreement with the Russian Federation. The Republic of Armenia must pursue a policy credible for its strategic ally within the framework of bilateral and multilateral relations with the Russian Federation.
Our main goal is to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh and the international recognition of Artsakh and restoring the territorial integrity of the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. The Karabakh conflict must be resolved exclusively through peaceful negotiations.
EEU, CIS, CSTO
The Prosperous Party of Armenia places importance on expanding the multi-vector integration of the Republic of Armenia within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). At the same time, the EAEU, should not only be a large market for the export of goods and services of Armenia, but a potential source of investment inflow to the Republic of Armenia. We will continually have our active participation in the ongoing processes in the structures of the CIS and CSTO, while continuing to have constructive activities in the European integration processes.
Citizen’s Decision Social-Democratic Party
Armenia gained independence during a period of uncertain geopolitics and in a complex region. As the guarantor of the political and natural rights of the Armenians of Artsakh, it was obligated to resist the armed aggression of Azerbaijan directed against the right of the Armenians of Artsakh to self-determination at the beginning of its independence process.
The success of the Armenian forces in that war and the military and geopolitical situation created subsequently have shaped the nature of our region: Closed borders, Azerbaijan’s hostile policy against Armenia and Artsakh, Turkey’s sponsorship of Azerbaijan, Russia’s considerable influence in the conflict’s resolution and its experience maintaining balanced relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan, the involvement and interests of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries in the conflict.
In this context, with the foreign policy it pursued for years on end, the Republic of Armenia consistently waived its rights by fully observing the norms of the law that would exclude the use of force by Azerbaijan.
The government formed in 2018, with its sweeping and uncalculated actions, squandered that international guarantee also, legitimizing and making the aggression of Azerbaijan inevitable.
With consistent indecision, as a result portraying the abnegation of its rights as diplomatic flexibility, Armenia came face-to-face with the greatest crisis of its recent statehood. Overcoming this situation requires discipline, persistence and the highest level of gravity when it comes to issues of rights.
In this respect, our goals are:
1. Uphold the right of the Armenians of Artsakh to self-determination and the international recognition of Artsakh;
2. Achieve the complete de-occupation of Hadrut, Shushi and the former NKAO territory through peaceful negotiations;
3. Provide long-term and safe routes of uninterrupted communication between Armenia and Artsakh;
4. Create the necessary environment and relations to achieve lasting stability and peace in the region.
To achieve these goals:
We are going to launch inclusive intra-Armenian discussions among social and political circles to come to a consensus about the status of Artsakh: Is it to be united with Armenia or remain independent? The decision reached as a result of those discussions should come into legal force by 2025, either in the form of the recognition of the Artsakh Republic or reunification with Armenia.
By pursuing legal and political processes in international platforms, we are going to register the fact that Azerbaijan has violated one of the basic provisions of international law: The use of force or the principle of excluding the use or threat of use of force. Therefore, an examination of the whole truth of the war and the pre-war period is important not only in the service of Armenia’s domestic but also foreign policy interests.
We prioritize balance and sovereignty in order to achieve the goal of lasting stability and peace in the region. In practice, this means that we will actively negotiate with all states interested in the region for mutual interests. We will try to restore the balance around Armenia within the framework of comparable interests. In this process, we consider Armenia’s interests and sovereignty our red lines.
Recent developments have shown that our expressed position that Armenia should clarify the scope of its rights and obligations is more than relevant today. Our main security challenges are principally related to Artsakh, but our current security cooperations generally exclude Artsakh. This rift has played a significant role in the events taking place around us. Therefore, we insist that Armenia should clarify the scope of its rights and obligations. Finally, it should be clarified whether all CSTO member states share our security interests. It is necessary, through constructive dialogue, to assess what a “small concession” can be from Russia’s point of view and what that really means from ours. These clarifications and the recognition of mutual rights and obligations are vital to shaping our security environment and to deepening our friendly relations.
We consider possible political relations with Asian, Arab and African countries to have been underestimated and undervalued. Therefore, by using a wide range of diplomatic tools, we will try to clarify our common economic and foreign policy interests with these countries, and to cooperate on that basis.
We do not overestimate or underestimate the importance of the CSTO. We consider it a platform for mutually beneficial military-technical cooperation in terms of security interests, but we do not expect all CSTO member states to provide military assistance to Armenia in the process of resolving security issues.
Cooperation within the framework of the EAEU contains both opportunities and risks for Armenia. In contrast to the territorial homogeneity inherent in economic unions, EAEU member Armenia is geographically isolated from other member states. From the point of view of competitiveness, the nature of Russian-Georgian, Armenian-Azerbaijani relations creates tangible problems for Armenia in that structure. Therefore, by negotiating with EAEU member states, we expect to achieve more favorable conditions. The issue of customs reform and simplification of procedures is a separate problem. Due to its commitments for being an EAEU member, Armenia has certain limitations in this regard. We plan to reform the Republic of Armenia’s Customs Service through negotiations. In the logic of EAEU development, we do not accept Azerbaijan’s participation in the structure with any status, not until the Artsakh issue reaches a final resolution and our violated rights are restored.
We consider it necessary to have a dialogue on the prospects for the development of relations with the EU and the United States, and with an open, responsible, interest-oriented approach; we will strive to give a new quality to those relations.
We consider the Armenian Diaspora a strategic partner of Armenia’s foreign policy and economic cooperation, with which we will build new quality relations with clarified rights and obligations.
In addition to this, we will advance the agenda of international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide.
1. We opt for a stable and coherent foreign policy, effective regional cooperation, establishment and development of decent relations with all the neighboring states.
2. Congruent with the new geopolitical challenges, new models of establishing cooperation, mutual aid, and regional peace will be formed with ally countries pursuing interests in the region.
3. We renounce the psychology of defeat, being convinced that Armenia, together with its allies, can develop a new regional agenda and protect its interests.
4. Supporting the idea of sustainable peace, open communications and frontiers in the South Caucasus, we are strongly committed to finding reasonable and mutually beneficial solutions with the allies, which derive from our national and state interest.
5. We will expand the scope of the universal recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, we will pursue the execution of imperishable rights of the Armenian people – as a precondition for preventing new genocides, as a guarantee for security of future generations and as an earnest of lasting and dignified peace in the region.
6. Armenia will restart relations with the Russian Federation in all directions, and, consistent with the regional challenges, will shape new development paths.
7. We will intensify and expand strategic cooperation with the Republic of Georgia – as an immediate neighbor and a country with common geopolitical interests. Georgia is a friendly country, where Javakheti Armenians fully exercise their rights to preserve national identity and to develop.
8. Cooperation and partnership with Iran will be reinforced and redefined.
9. Cooperation with China will be moved towards a new quality level, including in the context of regional collaboration.
10. We will continue fully performing the commitments undertaken by Armenia within the UN, CIS, EAEU, CSTO, OSCE, CoE, EU and other international organizations and exercise all the opportunities granted under such membership.
11. We will develop constructive and effective bilateral cooperation with the U.S. and the countries of the European Union. In order to promote peace and protect our national interests, we will foster dialogue and mutually beneficial foreign policy with India, countries of the Near East, Canada, South America, Japan and other countries.
The Consequences of the 44-Day War
12. We will immediately take measures to return the captives of the 44-day war and clarify the data on the deceased and missing.
13. We will struggle for the international recognition of the Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression and of the losses inflicted on the Armenian people, for the fair settlement of the Artsakh conflict through a new stage of peaceful negotiations. We will make all efforts to resume the negotiation process under the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, aimed at restoring the territory of Artsakh based on the right to self determination, and ensuring a guaranteed and secure land communication with the Republic of Armenia.
14. We will immediately initiate the mitigation of the heavy consequences caused by the Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression. We will establish new and appropriate conditions for the recovery of the wounded persons and turn the Government-owned summer houses within Kond district into a modern rehabilitation center. We will provide accommodation for all the refugees, arrange proper living conditions for them and, to the extent possible, organize their return to their former places of residence. Necessary financial aid will be provided to the families of all the deceased and wounded.
15. Problems that occurred as a result of the war, like freight transportation, transport routes, agricultural activities, as well as security and socio-economic problems derived from the loss of stable income, will be urgently resolved.
16. The issues of preserving the Armenian historical, cultural and religious heritage will become the priorities of cooperation between Armenia and international organizations.
New Agenda for Regional Cooperation
17. Armenia can become a cross point for regional communications, a transit country linking the Black Sea and the Gulf countries, as well as the reestablished new Silk Road.
18. At this development stage, turning Armenia into a transit country will become one of the major achievements. There is a chance to merge into the North-South Corridor, considering the fact that this concept is intensively promoted by our friendly countries and strategic partners.
19. We will work with renewed vigor on developing the Georgia-Armenia-Iran energy platform, by ensuring that the excess energy produced in Armenia is exported to the countries of the region.
20. The construction of Kajaznuni Tunnel and the southern segment of the North-South Road will have strategic significance. We contemplate this in the context of a free economic zone at the border with Iran and in terms of lran-EAEU relations. Such infrastructural solutions will promote motor vehicle freight transportation between the Gulf and the Black Sea ports.
21. We will advance the initiative to create new opportunities for the development of regional communication infrastructures; to construct new Georgia-Armenia-Iran communication routes and to expand the existing ones. It will enhance the opportunities for development in information technologies and innovations within the participant countries and promote the establishment of a new digital platform for cooperation in the region.
22. We will support those communication development projects which boost trade flow in the region and serve Armenian national and state interests, for instance, the construction of the tunnel between Russia and Georgia. We must facilitate transport communication between Georgia and Abkhazia.
23. The option of turning Armenia into a regional airline hub for passenger transits from Europe to Asian countries, such as for instance India or China, or vice versa, will be contemplated. Armenia can become an important base for Arab airlines carrying out flights to the third countries. The Agreement on Air Transportation with the EU will be finally ratified. Consideration will be given to the possibility of having a national carrier.
24. All these concepts should necessarily be linked with China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative on global cooperation and infrastructure development.
25. We will intensify active trade and economic relations with Arabic countries, such as UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, as well as Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
26. We will undertake specific actions to ensure the exercise of Armenia’s rights deriving from a landlocked country status.
Safe and Stable Country
27. In order to prevent the penetration and influence of foreign anti-national forces and to ensure military, economic, information, environmental and energy security, along with the intention of coordinated fight against cybercrime, we will modernize the country’s state security system (the Armed Forces, the Security Council, civil defense and law enforcement systems).
28. We will adopt and implement a new national security strategy, as well as a new military doctrine, and new concepts for the development of the military industry system and the idea of NATION-ARMY. The issue of protecting national values will be included in the National Security Strategy as a key component.
29. We will modernize the Armed Forces through a modern and collaborative defense policy, create properly structured armed forces ready to carry out battle tasks and ensure the security of Armenia and Artsakh, their territorial integrity, protection and inviolability of borders.
30. Priority will be given to the swift equipping of settlements and engineering structures in the territories of Armenia and Artsakh, technological equipping of military and non-military strategic deterrence capacities, combined with the high mobility personnel trained based on modern experience.
31. We will reform the law enforcement system ensuring public order and internal security, by depoliticizing it and directing it towards the primary task of combating crime.
32. We will eliminate the current exaggerated system of law enforcement agencies that is common for a police-driven state, turning most of the security services toward the role of solving the country’s defense issues.
33. We will establish a more effective government structure and public administration system, on the basis of public and professional consultations. The executive branch will become fully accountable to the people’s representative bodies at the state and local levels.
34. We will restore the Ministries of Agriculture and Culture as a matter of priority.
35. We will induce new qualities to public governance and public service, based on high-level perception of statehood, responsibility, professionalism and proper remuneration.
36. We will form new agendas for cooperation and dialogue between Armenia and the Diaspora, review restrictions on the involvement of persons with dual citizenship in the RA state administration and introduce new mechanisms for such cooperation.
37. Based on the rule of law principle, we will introduce new administrative and pre-trial structures which ensure the direct implementation of fundamental human rights.
38. We will exclude the pressure of political authorities upon the judicial system and abolish the vicious practice of depriving a person of liberty for political reasons.
39. We will guarantee the independence of the investigative bodies and the Prosecutor’s Office from the executive branch.
40. The powers between the President, the National Assembly and the Government will be redistributed through constitutional reforms. The powers and self-responsibility of a parliamentarian and a government official will be made equal and effective.
41. We will facilitate the performance of participative and direct democracy institutions (referendums, nationwide polls, etc.), as an effective measure of expressing the peoples’ will.
42. The unified “authorities-opposition” political system will be improved, providing real influence levers and defining public responsibility for the political opposition in terms of controlling, restraining the authorities and carrying out the tangible anti-corruption fight.
Solidarity and Engagement of All-Armenian Potential
43. We will overcome the internal national disruption by restoring the vital atmosphere of social cohesion and dialogue in the country.
44. We will implement programs, together with charitable funds and humanitarian organizations, for the socialization, training and providing jobs for the people injured during the war and those with limited abilities, thus solving their employment issues.
45. Ensuring accessibility and full social integration for the people with disabilities will be fully systemized, with clear objectives and timetable .
46. We will implement policies in spiritual, educational, youth, sports, cultural, information and economic areas for engaging the all-Armenian potential as the basis for overcoming the value crisis in the society, strengthening the foundations of statehood and national security, and forging a citizen.
47. In order to consolidate the All-Armenian potential, a comprehensive investment program will be implemented aimed at preserving and growing the national wealth, capitalizing on economic, social and environmental resources, and developing Armenia economically.
48. Prevention of emigration and proper planning of immigration, as well as stimulation of birth rate in specific rural settlements, and rapid reduction of the mortality rate, will become the long-term objectives of the demographic policy.
49. After reconsidering the existing social assistance programs and introduction of new programmatic approaches, birth of the next child in the family will become a new and real opportunity for development and strengthening in the own country.
50. Women’s potential will be effectively used in various spheres of social life. A national mechanism will be adopted for achieving balanced representation of women at all levels of government.
51. The Armenian Apostolic Church will be granted opportunities based on its exceptional status to accomplish its vital mission of building our spiritual life and preserving the nation.
52. Special targeted programs will be implemented focused on repatriation of our compatriots, especially of highly qualified specialists.
53. We will create a unified information field for Armenia and the Diaspora, which will provide reliable exchange of information.
54. Confidence in the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund will be restored, excluding the non-statutory use of the Fund’s means.
55. Without prejudice to the freedom of speech and expression, new structures will be introduced which will prevent the constant circulation of false news, manipulative schemes of public opinion, personalized or intra-national hostility, hate speech, discreditation and humiliation of state institutions.