Foreign relations of Armenia
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
Since its independence, Armenia has maintained a policy of complementarism by trying to have friendly relations both with Iran, Russia, and the West, including the United States and Europe. However, the dispute over the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the recent war over Nagorno–Karabakh have created tense relations with two of its immediate neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Armenia is a member of more than 40 different international organizations including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO's Partnership for Peace, the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Trade Organization and La Francophonie. It is also an observer member of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Non-Aligned Movement. Eduard Nalbandyan serves as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.
Armenian Genocide recognition
Parliaments of countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide include Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela. Additionally, some regional governments of countries recognize the Armenian genocide too, such as New South Wales and South Australia in Australia as well as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in the United Kingdom. US House Resolution 106 was introduced on 30 January 2007, and later referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The bill has 225 co-sponsors. The bill called for former President George W. Bush to recognize and use the word genocide in his annual 24 April speech which he never used. His successor President Barack Obama expressed his desire to recognize the Armenian Genocide during the electoral campaigns, but after being elected, has not used the word "genocide" to describe the events that occurred in 1915.
Armenia supports ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno–Karabakh republic in the longstanding, and very bitter conflict against the Azerbaijani government.
The current conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) began in 1988 when Armenian demonstrations against Azerbaijani rule broke out in Nagorno–Karabakh and later in Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Supreme Soviet voted to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia. Soon, violence broke out against ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan and ethnic Azeris in Armenia. In 1990, after violent episodes in Nagorno–Karabakh and Azerbaijani cities like Baku, Sumgait and Kirovabad, Moscow declared a state of emergency in Karabakh, sent troops to the region, and forcibly occupied Baku, killing over a hundred civilians. In April 1991, Azerbaijani militia and Soviet forces targeted Armenian populations in Karabakh, known as Operation Ring. Moscow also deployed troops to Yerevan. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, conflict escalated into a full-scale war between the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, supported by Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Military action was influenced by the Russian military, which inspired and manipulated the rivalry between the two neighbouring sides in order to keep both under control.
More than 30,000 people were killed in the fighting from 1988 to 1994. In May 1992, ethnic Armenian forces seized Shusha and Lachin (thereby linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia). By October 1993, ethnic Armenian forces succeeded in taking almost all of former NKAO, Lachin and large areas in southwestern Azerbaijan. In 1993, the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions calling for the cessation of hostilities, unimpeded access for international humanitarian relief efforts, and the eventual deployment of a peacekeeping force in the region. Fighting continued, however, until May 1994 when Russia brokered a cease-fire, between the three sides.
Negotiations to resolve the conflict peacefully have been ongoing since 1992 under the aegis of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The Minsk Group is co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States and has representation from Turkey, the U.S., several European nations, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Despite the 1994 cease-fire, sporadic violations, sniper-fire and landmine incidents continue to claim over 100 lives each year.
Since 1997, the Minsk Group co-chairs have presented three proposals to serve as a framework for resolving the conflict. One side or the other rejected each of those proposals. Beginning in 1999, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia initiated a direct dialogue through a series of face-to-face meetings, often facilitated by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The OSCE sponsored a round of negotiations between the presidents in Key West, Florida. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell launched the talks on 3 April 2001, and the negotiations continued with mediation by the U.S., Russia and France until 6 April 2001. The Co-Chairs are continuing to work with the two presidents in the hope of finding a lasting peace.
The two countries are still at war. Citizens of the Republic of Armenia, as well as citizens of any other country who are of Armenian descent, are forbidden entry to the Republic of Azerbaijan. If a person's passport shows any evidence of travel to Nagorno–Karabakh, they are forbidden entry to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In 2008, in what became known as the 2008 Mardakert Skirmishes, ethnic Armenia forces and Azerbaijan clashed over Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting between the sides was brief, with few casualties on either side.
Countries with no diplomatic relations
Armenia does not have diplomatic relations with the following countries (organized by continent):
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- South Sudan
- Pakistan (Pakistan does not recognize Armenia)
- Saudi Arabia
- Marshall Islands
- Nauru, Cook Islands, Niue
- Solomon Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- Hungary (suspended by Armenia since 31 August 2012 due to Ramil Safarov's extradition to Azerbaijan)
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Trinidad and Tobago
Armenia also has no diplomatic relations with states with limited recognition.
Countries with diplomatic relations
Armenia has diplomatic relations with 151 sovereign entities (including the Vatican City and Order of Malta). These include: Albania, Afghanistan, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bangladesh,Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Chile, the People's Republic of China, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, DR Congo, Egypt, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Holy See (Vatican City), Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, North Korea, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Libya, Macedonia, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Myanmar, Norway, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Order of Malta, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Uruguay and Vietnam.
Notes on some of these relations follow:
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|Albania||18 February 1993||See Armenia–Albania relations|
|Andorra||18 November 2003||See Armenia–Andorra relations
|Azerbaijan||No diplomatic relations||See Armenia–Azerbaijan relations, Nagorno-Karabakh War, Sumgait pogrom, Baku pogrom, Khojaly massacre, Maraga massacre, Khachkar destruction in Nakhichevan
The two nations have fought two wars in 1918–20 (Armenian–Azerbaijani War) and in 1988–94 (Nagorno-Karabakh War), in the past century, with last one ended with provisional cease fire agreement signed in Bishkek. There are no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, because of the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and dispute.
During the Soviet period, many Armenians and Azeris lived in relative peace under the Soviet iron fist. However, when Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the policies of Glasnost and Perestroika, the majority of Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) of the Azerbaijan SSR began a movement to unify with the Armenian SSR. In 1988, the Armenians of Karabakh voted to secede and join Armenia. This, along with sporadic massacres in Azerbaijan against Armenians resulted in the conflict that became known as the Nagorno-Karabakh War. The violence resulted in de facto Armenian control of former NKAO and seven surrounding Azerbaijani regions which was effectively halted when the three sides agreed to observe a cease-fire which has been in effect since May 1994, and in late 1995 the sides also agreed to mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group. The Minsk Group is co-chaired by the U.S., France and Russia, and comprises Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and several Western European nations. Despite the cease fire, up to 40 clashes are reported along the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict lines of control each year.
The sides are still technically at war. Citizens of the Republic of Armenia, as well as citizens of any other country who are of Armenian descent, are forbidden entry to the Republic of Azerbaijan. If a person's passport shows any evidence of travel to Nagorno-Karabakh, they are forbidden to enter the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In 2008, in what became known as the 2008 Mardakert Skirmishes, Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed over Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting between the three sides was brief, with few casualties on either side.
|Austria||24 January 1992||See Armenia–Austria relations|
|Belarus||12 June 1993||See Armenia–Belarus relations|
|Belgium||10 March 1992||See Armenia–Belgium relations
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||29 July 1997||See Armenia–Bosnia and Herzegovina relations
|Bulgaria||18 January 1992||See Armenia–Bulgaria relations|
|Croatia||8 July 1994||See Armenia–Croatia relations|
|Cyprus||18 March 1992||See Armenia–Cyprus relations
|Czech Republic||30 March 1992||See Armenia–Czech Republic relations|
|Denmark||14 January 1992||See Armenia–Denmark relations|
|Estonia||23 August 1992||
|Finland||25 March 1992||
|France||24 February 1992||See Armenia–France relations
Franco-Armenian relations have existed since the French and the Armenians established contact in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and are close to this day. 2006 was proclaimed the Year of Armenia in France.
|Germany||Jan 1992||See Armenia–Germany relations|
|Georgia||17 July 1992||See Armenia–Georgia relations
Armenians and Georgians have a lot in common. Both are ancient Christian civilizations with their own distinct alphabets. Both use the terms "Apostolic" and "Orthodox" in the full titles of their respective churches. They also use the term "Catholicos" to refer to their church patriarchs. Despite all this, however, Armenians and Georgians have tended to have a tenuous relationship (at times, sharing close bonds while at other times regarding each other as rivals).
Today, relations with Georgia are of particular importance for Armenia because, under the economic blockade imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan due to the ongoing Karabakh conflict, Georgia offers Armenia its only land connection with Europe and access to its Black Sea ports. However, because of Armenia's reliance on Russia and Georgia, both of whom fought the 2008 South Ossetia war and severed diplomatic and economic relations as a result; and as 70% of Armenia's imports entered via Georgia especially from Russia which has imposed an economic blockade on Georgia, Armenia also has been indirectly affected from this blockade as well. The development of close relations between Turkey and Georgia (such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and South Caucasus natural gas pipeline) have also weighed on the mutual relations. For example, on 20 March 2006, Georgian Ambassador to Armenia Revaz Gachechiladze stated, "We sympathize with the sister nation but taking decisions of the kind we should take into account the international situation. When the time comes Georgia will do everything within the limits of the possible for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the international community including Georgia." However, Armenian-Georgian relations have begun to improve. On 10 May 2006, Armenia and Georgia agreed on the greater part of the lines of the state border between the two countries. The Javakheti region in southern Georgia contains a large Armenian population and although there have been local civic organizations (such as United Javakhk) pushing for autonomy, there has been no violence between Armenians and Georgians in the area.
|Greece||20 January 1992||See Armenia–Greece relations
Greece was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia's independence on 21 September 1991, and one of those that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. Since the independence of Armenia the two countries have been partners within the framework of international organizations (United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe, BSEC), whilst Greece firmly supports the community programs aimed at further developing relations between the EU and Armenia.
Continuous visits of the highest level have shown that both countries want to continue to improve the levels of friendship and cooperation (Visit by the President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrossian to Greece in 1996, visit by the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos in 1999, visit by the President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan to Greece in 2000 and 2005 and visit by Greek president Karolos Papoulias to Armenia in June 2007).
Greece is, after Russia, the major military partner of Armenia. Armenian officers are trained in Greek military academies, and various technical assistance is supplied by Greece. Since 2003, an Armenian platoon has been deployed in Kosovo as part of KFOR, where they operate as a part of the Greek battalion of KFOR.
|Holy See||23 May 1992||See Armenia–Holy See relations
|Hungary|| 26 February 1992
31 Aug 2012
|Iceland||1995||See Armenia–Iceland relations|
|Ireland||13 June 1996|| See Armenia–Ireland relations
|Italy||12 May 1993||See Armenia–Italy relations|
|Latvia||22 August 1992|| See Armenia–Latvia relations
|Liechtenstein||7 May 2008||See Armenia–Liechtenstein relations|
|Lithuania||21 November 1991|| See Armenia–Lithuania relations
|Luxembourg||11 June 1992||See Armenia–Luxembourg relations|
|Macedonia||27 April 1993||See Armenia–Macedonia relations|
|Malta||27 May 1993||See Armenia–Malta relations|
|Moldova||May 1992|| See Armenia–Moldova relations
|Monaco||Oct 2008||See Armenia–Monaco relations|
|Montenegro|| See Armenia–Montenegro relations
|Netherlands||30 January 1992|| See Armenia–Netherlands relations
|Norway||5 June 1992||See Armenia–Norway relations|
|Poland||26 February 1992||See Armenia–Poland relations|
|Portugal||25 May 1992||See Armenia–Portugal relations
One of the most notable Armenians who resided in Portugal was Calouste Gulbenkian. He was a wealthy Armenian businessman and philanthropist, who made Lisbon the headquarters for his businesses. He established the international charity, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. He also founded the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon.
|Romania||17 November 1991||See Armenia–Romania relations|
|Russia||3 April 1992||See Armenia–Russia relations
Armenia's most notable recent foreign policy success came with 29 August treaty with Russia on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, in which Moscow committed itself to the defense of Armenia should it be attacked by a third party. Russia is the key regional security player, and has proved a valuable historical ally for Armenia. Although it appeared as a response to Aliyev's US trip, the treaty had probably long been under development. However, it is clear from the wider context of Armenian foreign policy that—while Yerevan welcomes the Russian security guarantee—the country does not want to rely exclusively on Moscow, nor to become part of a confrontation between Russian and US-led alliances in the Transcaucasus.
|San Marino||21 March 2006|| See Armenia–San Marino relations
|Serbia||14 January 1993|| See Armenia–Serbia relations
|Slovakia||14 January 1993|| See Armenia–Slovakia relations
|Slovenia||27 June 1994||See Armenia–Slovenia relations|
|Spain||27 January 1992|| See Armenia–Spain relations
|Sweden||10 July 1992|| See Armenia–Sweden relations
|Switzerland||23 December 1991|| See Armenia–Switzerland relations
|Ukraine||25 December 1992||See Armenia–Ukraine relations
Armenian-Ukrainian relations have lasted for centuries and today are cordial. Relations between Armenia and Ukraine have deflated since Armenia recognized the disputed referendum in Crimea and its subsequent annexation by Russia, and Ukraine has withdrawn its ambassador to Armenia for consultations. The Ukrainian government has asserted that this is temporary and that diplomatic relations between the two states shall indeed continue.
|United Kingdom||20 January 1992|| See Armenia–United Kingdom relations
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|Bhutan||27 September 2012||See Armenia–Bhutan relations|
|China||6 April 1992|| See Armenia–China relations
|India||31 August 1992|| See Armenia–India relations
|Iran||See Armenia–Iran relations
Despite religious and ideological differences, relations between Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran remain cordial and both Armenia and Iran are strategic partners in the region. Armenia and Iran enjoy cultural and historical ties that go back thousands of years. There are no border disputes between the two countries and the Christian Armenian minority in Iran enjoys official recognition. Of special importance is the cooperation in the field of energy security which lowers Armenia's dependence on Russia and can in the future also supply Iranian gas to Europe through Georgia and the Black Sea.
|Israel||See Armenia–Israel relations
Since independence, Armenia has received support from Israel and today remains one of its major trade partners. While both countries have diplomatic relations, neither maintains an embassy in the other country. Instead, Ehude Moshe Eytam, the Israeli ambassador to Armenia is based in Tbilisi, Georgia, and visits Yerevan twice a month. Israel has recognized 10 Armenians as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
|Japan||7 September 1992||See Armenia–Japan relations
|Kazakhstan||27 August 1992||See Armenia–Kazakhstan relations
|North Korea||13 February 1992||See Foreign relations of North Korea|
|Kuwait||1994||See Armenia–Kuwait relations|
|Lebanon||See Armenia–Lebanon relations
Armenian-Lebanese relations are very friendly. Lebanon is host to the eighth largest Armenian population in the world and is the only member of the Arab League, much less of the Middle East and the Islamic World that recognizes the Armenian Genocide. During the 2006 Lebanon War, Armenia announced that it would send humanitarian aid to Lebanon. According to the Armenian government, an unspecified amount of medicines, tents and fire-fighting equipment was allocated to Lebanese authorities on 27 July 2006.
|Malaysia||11 March 1993||See Armenia–Malaysia relations
|Pakistan||See Armenia–Pakistan relations
Armenia-Pakistan relations are poor owing to disagreements between the two countries. The main issue is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pakistan is a major supporter of Azerbaijan during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Pakistan also does not recognize Armenia despite Armenia recognizing Pakistan. Pakistan does not recognize the Armenian Genocide and maintains that during the war large number of Armenians and Muslims were killed. Armenia also has friendly relations with India, which Pakistan heavily opposes.
|Philippines||20 May 1992||See Armenia–Philippines relations|
|Sri Lanka||12 February 1992||See Armenia–Sri Lanka relations|
|Saudi Arabia||See Armenia–Saudi Arabia relations|
|South Korea||21 February 1992|| See Armenia–South Korea relations South Korea–Armenia relations Armenian–South Korean relations South Korean–Armenian relations
|Syria|| See Armenia–Syria relations
|Turkey||No formal diplomatic relations||See Armenia–Turkey relations
Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia's independence in 1991. Despite this, for most of the 20th century and early 21st century, relations remain tense and there are no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries for numerous reasons. Some bones of contention include the unresolved Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan (which has resulted in Turkey imposing a blockade on Armenia that is still in effect today), the treatment of Armenians in Turkey, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, and the Armenian claim of Turkey's holding of historic Armenian lands (ceded to them in the Treaty of Kars, a treaty which Armenia refuses to recognize to this day since it was signed between the Soviet Union and Turkey, and not between Armenia and Turkey proper). At the forefront of all disputes, however, is the issue surrounding the Armenian Genocide. The killing and deportation of between one and one-and-a-half million Armenians from the Ottoman Empire orchestrated by the Young Turks is a taboo subject in Turkey itself as the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge that a genocide ever happened. However, since Turkey has become a candidate to join the European Union, limited discussion of the event is now taking place in Turkey. Some in the European Parliament have even suggested that one of the provisions for Turkey to join the E.U. should be the full recognition of the event as genocide.
On 5 June 2005, Armenian President Robert Kocharian announced that he was ready to "continue dialogue with Azerbaijan for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and with Turkey on establishing relations without any preconditions." Armenia has also stated that as a legal successor to the Armenian SSR, it is loyal to the Treaty of Kars and all agreements inherited by the former Soviet Armenian government. Yet Turkey continues to lay preconditions on relations, insisting that Armenia abandon its efforts to have the Genocide recognized, which official Yerevan is not willing to do.
In the wake of the 2008 South Ossetia war between Russia and Georgia, Armenia and Turkey have shown signs of an inclination to reconsider their relationship. According to The Economist magazine, 70% of Armenia's imports enter via Georgia. Because of the apparently belligerent posture of the Russian state, economic ties with Turkey appear especially attractive.
|Turkmenistan||1992|| See Armenia–Turkmenistan relations
|United Arab Emirates|| See Armenia–United Arab Emirates relations
Africa, Americas and Oceania
|Country||Formal relations began||Notes|
|Argentina||17 January 1992|| See Armenia–Argentina relations
|Australia|| See Armenia–Australia relations
The first Armenians migrated to Australia in the 1850s, during the gold rush. The majority came to Australia in the 1960s, starting with the Armenians of Egypt after Nasser came to power then, in the early 1970s, from Cyprus after the Turkish occupation of the island and from 1975 until 1992, a period of civil unrest in Lebanon. Person-to-person governmental links are increasing although they are still modest. In September 2003, The Hon Mr Philip Ruddock MP visited Armenia in his former capacity as Australian Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. In October 2005, the Armenian Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr Vardan Oskanyan, visited Australia. In November 2005, The Hon Mr Joe Hockey MP, Minister for Human Services, visited Armenia. The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia refuses to recognise the mass murder of Armenians in 1915 as Genocide, although the State of N.S.W passed a law recognising this several years earlier. The Australian Government elections of 2007 created an atmosphere in which the Opposition Labor party declared it will push for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Australian Parliament if Labor wins the Elections.
|Brazil||17 February 1992||See Armenia–Brazil relations|
|Canada|| See also Armenia–Canada relations, Embassy of Armenia in Ottawa, Armenian Canadian
|Chile||1992|| See Armenia–Chile relations
|Egypt||March 1992||See Armenia–Egypt relations|
|Guyana||October 24, 2003|
|Mauritius||28 June 2013||
|Mexico||14 January 1992||See Armenia–Mexico relations|
|Namibia||2 October 2006|
|Peru||20 April 1992|| See Armenia–Peru relations
|Seychelles||19 April 2006|
Armenia-South Africa relations
|United States|| See Armenia–United States relations
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and created the opportunity for bilateral relations with the New Independent States (NIS) as they began a political and economic transformation. The U.S. recognized the independence of Armenia on 25 December 1991, and opened an embassy in Yerevan in February 1992.
|Uruguay||1992|| See Armenia–Uruguay relations
|Venezuela||30 October 1993||See Armenia–Venezuela relations|
- List of diplomatic missions in Armenia
- List of diplomatic missions of Armenia
- Foreign relations of Nagorno-Karabakh
- Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline
- Visa requirements for Armenian citizens
- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/index.htm (Background Notes).
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