American analyst: The USA actually has been looking at sanctions on Armenia

American analyst: The USA actually has been looking at sanctions on Armenia
# 18 March 2008 09:19 (UTC +04:00)
- On March 4, in the frontline between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces were fixed the bloodiest crash. Why did it happen almost at the same time when the Armenian political crisis was in its highest point and just couple days after the clash between police and peaceful demonstrators?
- There were so many things moving at this moment. This type of political circumstances was not around for Azerbaijan and Armenia for the past 10 years. It is very interesting time for the region. It is partly because of the fact that Armenia had internal political chaos, the fact that the USA have been threatening Armenia with sanctions, the fact that Russia is pumping a lot of money into Armenia and Azerbaijan, U.S. is pumping money both countries, and the fact that such region of the world are very vulnerable because of that situation. So many interesting things are happening right now that I expect such things (a violation of ceasefire) happen quite frequently at this moment. I expect unless Russia and the USA come to different understanding. The US and West are scrambling to make sure that situation doesn’t escalate further that where it is now.
- You said that Russia has pumped a lot of money into Azerbaijan and Armenia. Do you believe that the country, which invested money in these countries, wants the further escalation of situation in Nagorno Karabakh?
- I think Russia does at this moment. Moscow does want to see situation get a lot worse because they know that west doesn’t want see the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and specially the United States. The United States is so invested in Armenia and Azerbaijan that it is one of the places where Russia interested in the unstable situation because it will affect the USA in Washington. The USA at this moment is going to do everything possible to prevent this escalation. They are going to that through sanctions, if necessary they can do it through political intimidations, There are quite options which the United States have. I spoke with the office of Condoleezza Rice about this specifically. Her office said that the quote itself was published out of context but the USA actually has been looking at sanctions on Armenia since March, 2007. At this time, the President George Bush was looking at possible sanctioning Armenia 50% on economic aid and 30% on military aid. It was the time when the pipeline between Armenia and Iran was going on and you know that the USA and Iran are in a very difficult situation. They (the White House) decided that they are going to put sanctions on table and because of that Yerevan has backed off from Iran in small existence. But now the sanctions have written again because of internal political situation and the possibility that Armenia and Azerbaijan could be looking at war. The sanction is a way that the USA thinks that will make a lot of sense to Armenia because Armenia is so much poor country that its neighbor Azerbaijan. So these economic cuts will make a huge difference to Armenia. I believe the USA has pressure on Azerbaijan too. The problem is that any relations between Azerbaijan and the USA isn’t laud as the relations between the USA and Armenia because the Armenian lobby and Diaspora so much bigger and powerful that Azerbaijani one. I do expect a meeting to be held between both sides because the USA and France are pushing for meeting to try resolve what is going on between Armenia and Azerbaijan. One possibility is at the upcoming NATO conference in April.
- During the clashes between police and civilians in Armenia, where 8 people died, the reaction from West wasn’t as strong as it usually comes when the government tries to suppress its own population. Doesn’t it seem to you quite strange?
- I am not sure that it is because of Armenian Diaspora inside of the United States. It is really tied up in the politics at this moment. I am not sure that it is because Bush has also been talking about upping the money going into Armenia and doesn’t want to publicize that the things are so unstable.
President Bush and the State Department 3 months ago started to talk about how much money for 2009 the USA is going to give Armenia. The Bush administration has requested 3 million dollars in extra aid for Armenia military aid and 300 000 dollars for military training. It is not just for Armenia but the same amount is being earmarked for Azerbaijan too. The whole reason why Bush administration is looking on more money for them is because they worry that Russia is restoring control in that region and more money is great way to buy them back.
- But the Bush administration already announced 59% aid cut for Armenia in 2009!!
- It is under consideration and it is not for sure yet. It is completely up the air and they are waiting how the situation will play out. Then they will decide do they want sanctions, if they want to cut aid or they want to give more money to Armenia. It is depend how the Armenian government will respond to them. If they willing to call back from aggression with Azerbaijan, if they willing to turn more to the west.
It is just rumors which I hear on my side, but I heard that there is going to be meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijan presidents at NATO summit next month. The meeting will be mediated between the USA and France. So that where I would look next and but at the same time a lot of things can happen in next few weeks.

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