Armenia has to decide on its own what its relationship with Russia would be. Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, former US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and Professor at University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, stated this on the air of Armenian News-NEWS.am's Strength Factor program, commenting on the recent statement by Yuri Kim, US Department of State Acting Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, according to whom the United States strives for Armenia to make a real decision to become its partner as opposed to Russia.
As per the retired American diplomat, US-Armenian relations have been stable for a long time, and he does not see a radical change in how that is structured.
"I think a lot of news was made about the recent military exercise with the Kansas National Guard. That was an exercise and how to engage in peace keeping operations, that wasn't a standard kind of military exercise of how you do interoperability or interactions beyond that. So I don't see a change shifting in that direction. I do think it's a stable relationship. I see from the Armenian government questions about what the future nature of Armenia’s relationship or friendship will be, with the viewpoint being expressed by [Armenian] Prime Minister Pashinyan, they're not a reliable defense partner. And I will say, I've heard that for many Armenians, individuals," Cavanaugh noted.
And when asked if Armenia decides to shift its foreign policy orientation and "leave" Russia, will the US or other Western partners give real strong guarantees to Armenia for its security, including in such strategic domains as economy, energy, etc., Cavanaugh had a hard time answering this question.
"This is a theoretical question that I cannot answer. I think it's more important now to focus on the issues that the country is facing right now: how do we support the people who are now being forced from their homes, how do we go about restoring the political dialogue so that answers can be found that remain open? to these questions. will the people who are leaving now be allowed to return later, what will happen if people decide not to leave, what will happen to the people who are stopped at the border or arrested by the Azerbaijani authorities on their way to leave Nagorno-Karabakh? These are more important issues at the moment than those that are more long-term in nature," said Carey Cavanaugh.
“It’s back to a hypothetical question. I don't have an ability to answer. I think it's, it's more important today to focus on problems that are taking place in the country this very minute, how we help facilitate providing support for the people who are fleeing their homes, and how we look to renewal of a political dialogue to answer some of these open questions: people leaving will they be allowed to return? What happens when people who don't leave? What happens with people who went to leave and were stopped at the border, or seized by Azerbaijani authorities? Those are all much more important questions for today than that longer term future,” Carey Cavanaugh noted.