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June 3, 2003

ACNIS Hosts International Seminar

Foreign and Local Experts Address NATO, Prospects for Regional Cooperation

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) hosted an international seminar on “NATO after the Prague Summit: Prospects for Regional Cooperation” on June 2-3, 2003 organized in collaboration with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Professor Tatoul Manasserian, ACNIS director of research opened the inauguration session with introductory remarks and words of welcome to the capacity audience of leading voices in Armenia, Turkey, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, and other countries as well as international organizations.

ACNIS analyst Stepan Safarian spoke on “A New Architecture for Peace in the World.” “The George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies and Brookings Institution approaches underlie the objectives set by NATO. Today the European security architecture, especially within the Eurasian framework, is built on US-Atlantic alliance, NATO’s extended alliance with partial inclusion of Russia, CIS countries, and other regional organizations. NATO accentuates stability, means and modalities for diminishing any potential threat to it, prospects for extended Atlantic to the Urals, NATO’s enlargement to the East, and an increased dialogue with Russia,” he stated.

Former British Ambassador David Miller’s speech focused on “NATO: Military Alliance or Political Organization.” “NATO has always been both things. It is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a political alliance which created a military organization for its collective defense. Furthermore, NATO is not and never was a supranational organization, a kind of politico-military bloc. Unlike the European Union, the sovereignty of its members is not shared and all decisions of the North Atlantic Council, its highest body, are taken by consensus, not majority voting, and are often carried by silence procedure,” he said.

Information officer Despina-Ino Afentouli of NATO’s Country Relations Section spoke on “NATO after the Prague Summit.” She addressed several key issues and presented an analysis of what NATO wants from the Caucasus. “There is a common position of the member states. Caucasus is a region of great importance especially after emergence of the new friends,” she stated.

Senior research fellow Oleg Barabanov of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies delivered a speech on “The Role of EU and NATO in Establishing the European Security System.” “Russia has always been opponent to NATO’s enlargement process. There is a concern that NATO’s enlargement will give rise to anti-Russian sentiments. Some NATO member-states were against the establishment of relationship with Russia. The second enlargement wave also roused concerns that it will provoke anti-Russian feelings. The relations between NATO and Russia develop quite normally,” he said.

Professor Tatoul Manasserian addressed “Overcoming Common Threats and Building a System of Common Security.” “While the economic cooperation is being rejected by some neighboring countries because of political reasons, coordinating efforts to overcome common threats becomes a vital precondition to establish peace and create a new system of common security in the region. Among other issues of economic, food, energy, healthcare and medical security, drug, human and other trafficking as well as fighting organized crime, international terrorism will bring closer the countries to find better solutions in the field of economic cooperation and eliminate political confrontation and hostilities.”

Senior researcher for the Institute of Philosophy and Law at the National Academy Manuk Harutiunian highlighted “NATO’s Enlargement to the Transcaucasus through the Prism of Expert Opinion.” “The 60% of experts taking part in the survey consider that NATO-Armenia cooperation within the ‘Partnership for Peace’ program framework pursues development of common military doctrines, planned strategy as well as coordination of foreign policy to guarantee regional security,” he opined.

Nico Van Dijck of the Lancaster University speculated on “NATO’s Role and Position within a Multidimensional and Multilevel Security Umbrella.” “I believe we all agree on the nature of NATO as an instrument of collective defense imbedded in article V of the Washington Treaty. However, the two other aspects automatically lead us to overlapping with other organizations. Spreading democracy for example is the core business of the OSCE, many organizations within the UN system, as well as a large number of NGOs,” he said.

Turkish journalist Oral Calislar of Cumhuriyet daily focused on “Peace in Our Region.” “International terrorism is not the worst evil to combat. It is a high priority to prevent American military intervention in different parts of the world. Turkey faces an alternative not between US and Russia but US and EU. EU is more acceptable for us for several reasons.”

The formal presentations were followed by a brisk debate among German Ambassador Hans-Wulf Bartels; Greek Ambassador Antonios Vlavianos; Greek Embassy third counsellor Georgios Alamanos; Military and Air-Force attaché Yuriy Urin of the Russian Embassy; political officer Aaron Sherinian of the US Embassy; Iranian Embassy expert of political affairs Amir Reza Darabian and expert of economic affairs Kazem Mohammadi; head of Chancery Vishvas V. Sapkal of the Indian Embassy; Grigor Malintsyan, project coordinator of the Southern Caucasus anti-drug program; former Minister of National Security Edward Simoniants; former minister Karine Danielian; Armen Yeghiazarian of the Yerevan State University; economist Edward Aghajanov; attachés Tigran Balayan and Arsen Arakelian of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia; editor-in-chief of Noyan Tapan Highlights weekly Haroutiun Khachatrian; Suren Baghdasarian of the Institute of Oriental Studies; Samson Grigorian of Emergency Management Administration; and many others.


Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K. Hovannisian, and supported by the Lincy Foundation and a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2003, the Center focuses primarily on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center and its activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am

 
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