News

RSC DIRECTOR MEETS WITH VISITING SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER

RSC Director Richard Giragosian met with visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on 9 February, during her first visit to the South Caucasus. In a meeting with four other Armenian civil society representatives, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and her delegation participated in an active, hour-long discussion that covered a wide range of issues, from domestic politics to regional developments, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and gender-related issues. Reporting on the visit, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Armenian Service also interviewed Giragosian, citing his comments on the domestic political situation within Armenia.

RSC SENIOR ANALYST ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN RUSSIAN-TURKISH CRISIS

In an interview with the Tert.am electronic news agency on 9 February, RSC Senior Analyst David Shahnazaryan assessed the latest development in the crisis in relations between Turkey and Russia. He pointed to three recent factors that are contributing to an escalation of the crisis and warned that as has “repeatedly happened throughout history, Russia is seeking to use Armenia as a small coin in its confrontation with Turkey. Neither our authorities nor our society should be enthusiastic about it in any way. We are in a rather grave situation and we must clearly understand that the interests of Armenia and Russia are becoming more and more in conflict. In this situation, Armenia has to make certain steps, first of all out of its own state interest.”

Interview in Armenian: www.tert.am/am/news/2016/02/09/shahnazaryan/1926528

Interview in English: www.tert.am/en/news/2016/02/09/shahnazaryan/1926528

The following is a brief summary of news from the Regional Studies Center (RSC), an independent think tank based in Yerevan, Armenia.

IRAN LOOKS TO THE SOUTH CAUCASUS

In an article entitled “South Caucasus will struggle to win Iran's attention,” Carmen Valache of Business New Europe (BNE) cites RSC Director Richard Giragosian in her assessment of the future of Iran’s relations with the countries of the South Caucasus now that sanctions against Iran are being lifted.

RSC MONTHLY CLOSED BRIEFING

The Regional Studies Center (RSC) held its latest closed monthly briefing on 20 January, with presentations by RSC Director Richard Giragosian and Senior Analyst David Shahnazaryan.  This month’s briefing featured a comprehensive analysis consisting of three main areas: (1) assessing recent political developments in Armenia, related to the implications of the December passage of the constitutional referendum, and a review of the negative economic impact on Armenia from the Russian crisis; (2) an overview of regional developments, including the recent Russian military buildup in Armenia, the deepening economic crisis in Azerbaijan, and the outlook for Armenia-Turkey “normalization,” especially given the recent Turkish-Russian crisis; (3) an assessment of the broader military situation, in light of the recent escalation of clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh and with an added focus on the outlook for the diplomatic mediation of the Karabakh conflict following the December meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Switzerland.