Security and defense
Armenia in the international system of conventional arms control
In this important sphere the relevant structures of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deal with the implementation of International Agreements, Conventions and other relevant documents within the United Nations and OSCE, which include conventional arms control, disarmament and weapons reduction, verification and inspections, as well as other disarmament agenda items such as anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions, certain conventional weapons, etc. The main purpose of the mentioned activities is strengthening of regional and global security and confidence building.
The Ministry also supervises the implementation of the different decisions coming out the UN SC and General Assembly, OSCE Conflict Prevention Center or Forum for the Security Co-operation. Bilateral co-operation is also present on the level of correspondence with the different international security related publications (British, Swedish, etc.).
The above mentioned tasks are performed in close co-operation with the President’s Office, Ministry of Defense, Police and National Security Services, Ministry of Justice, as well as other governmental bodies.
1. United Nations
Armenia annually sends to the UN relevant reports and information on military expenditures, equipment and technology, national legislation, arms transfer, information on small arms and light weapons exports/imports, etc. The number and content of reports depends on the number of UN GA resolutions. There is a requirement of periodic reporting (such as the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms), which is being provided to the UN Disarmament Committee by every member state on annual basis.
The sphere of activity also includes the issue of different conventions and agreements on certain types of weapons and ammunition within the framework of the UN (Ottawa Convention, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons with its Protocols (CCW), Convention on Cluster Munitions (CMC), etc.).
Armenia is not a member state to any of these UN agreements yet. However Armenia always participates as an observer state to any relevant preparatory meeting within this framework. Last time on 2009 Armenia stated again that it supports the above mentioned Treaties and reaffirms its readiness to take measures consistent with their provisions with the later possibility of accession to them.
Although Armenia, as an intention toward transparency and confidence-building measures, every year voluntarily provides specific information to the UN and to the OSCE Questionnaires on anti-personnel landmines, its full participation to the Treaties is contingent on a similar level of political commitment by other parties in the region. Armenia is mainly concerned with the neighboring Azerbaijan’s rigid position not to accede to Ottawa Convention, CCW and the CMC.
Armenia is also concerned with the existence of a large amount of landmines along its border with Azerbaijan. Furthermore, there are heavily mined areas along the line of contact between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. Moreover, according to reliable international sources, Azerbaijan is a country which still stores a significant quantity of cluster munitions.
It is worth mentioning that during the year of 2009 only there were 648 registered violations of the ceasefire regime committed by Azerbaijani Armed Forces on the line of contact with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia makes it clear that it cannot sign the above mentioned agreements unless Azerbaijan agrees to do so. However, Armenia believes that once an agreement on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is reached, joining these agreements would be an important asset for all sides.
Participation in the UN peacekeeping operations
Armenia attaches great importance to its participation in international peacekeeping operations. In this regard, the continuous cooperation with the UN Department of Peacekeeping operations (DPKO) is of key significance. Since 2011 Armenia has been engaged in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon as an observer and, on November 26, 2014, the first peacekeeping unit departed to the area of deployment.
2. Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe
The OSCE arms control, disarmament and security co-operation main institutions are the Conflict Prevention Center and the Forum for Security Co-operation. The Joint Consultative Group is also a part of the OSCE, but acts only within the Member States of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
The FSC includes the Vienna Document of 1999, Code of Conduct, Global Exchange of the Military Information, as well as issues on Anti-Personnel Landmines, Small Arms and Light Weapons, national practice on brokering and control of armaments, export control, etc. All of them envisage annual exchange of relevant information, and in case of the Vienna Document there are also inspections and evaluation visits. For example, every year Armenia receives three designated area inspections along with one evaluation visit.
The OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, and the OSCE Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting, as well as the OSCE Meeting to Review the Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons are main and basic issues of the OSCE - CPC/FSC. They are major tools to reflect and evaluate the implementation of the OSCE Confidence and Security Building Measures.
3. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty)
The CFE Treaty is a major arms control multilateral arrangement with purpose of minimizing concerns and challenges and, at the same time, strengthening confidence, openness and security between the participating states. Armenia perceives the CFE as a very important component of European stability and security.
Unlike other OSCE arms control regimes, the Treaty, being a legally-binding document, requires current and annual exchange of military information, as well as consists of verification, arms reductions and inspections. According to number of the passive quota, usually there are 4 inspections (including multinational) successfully conducted by other member states in the Armenian Armed Forces per year. No major violations of the Treaty were ever registered.
It should be mentioned that Armenia is also active in this field. Thus, it used one of its active quotas and successfully conducted inspection in the Turkish Armed Forces last year. In general, since 1993 Armenian had conducted several CFE inspections in Greece and Turkey, as well as participated in different multinational inspections in Bulgaria, Ukraine, UK, Moldova.
4. Violation of the CFE Treaty by Azerbaijan
The Republic of Azerbaijan has openly and continuously demonstrated its negligent attitude toward the implementation of the CFE Treaty. According to the annual CFE exchange of information for the year 2010, the Republic of Azerbaijan, as it had already happened in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, officially declared that it has more armament in at least two out of five categories of the Treaty Limited Equipments – 381 main battle tanks and 425 artillery pieces – when the Treaty correspondingly allows 220 and 285.
The mentioned case has been closely followed and repeatedly raised by Armenia within the OSCE, UN as well as other international organizations since 2006. This outrageous violation of the Treaty became a matter of concern for several other, mainly European, delegations during the Joint Consultative Group’s and OSCE regular meetings and annual conferences. These violations have also been criticized within UN and NATO. It is recognized by the international community that Azerbaijan is the only one out of 30 Treaty member-states which is openly in non-compliance with the Treaty provisions.
Armenia has constantly stated that the CFE Treaty is a legally binding document with concrete tasks, specific provisions and principles aimed at ensuring military balance, predictability and transparency in the common security framework. Existing political issues cannot serve as a justification for non-compliance with the Treaty provisions.