Will the Issue of Arms Sales Reach the UN Security Council?

12.05.2016 | 16:05 | Foreign Policy, Military Cooperation

There is an important noteworthy suggestion in the recent interview that the RA Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shavarsh Kocharyan gave to the Austrian Die Presse regarding the Nagorno Karabagh conflict.

The Idea

During the interview, the Deputy Foreign Minister expressed the following point: “The Armenian side has continuously been raising that issue, including on the level of our president. We understand what is going on and we have every reason to be dissatisfied. Russia says that if they do not sell it, others will. I favor the complete arms embargo for all the conflict sides in the region. The three OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, the USA, Russia and France, can reach that decision in the UN Security Council. That would be a right approach”.

This noteworthy statement contains two main messages. In the first place, it emphasizes once again that the Armenian side is not going to be silent on the unacceptability of the arms sales by Russia. The second message aims to draw international community’s attention on the circumstance that there are provisions of international law that could allow to ban Russia and any other country from selling arms to the conflict sides.

If this idea of the Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister does not remain on the pages of the Austrian newspaper and becomes part of Armenia’s foreign policy, we will be able to clearly see who is in favor of bloodshed in the region and who is not… And, most importantly, it may become possible to really stop the continuous arms support to Azerbaijan by Russia and other countries.

The Problem is Russia

Nevertheless, it is little likely that the UN Security Council might adopt such a decision as Russia has the veto right in the UN Security Council. Taking into account the circumstance that other UN Security Council members do not have particular interest in keeping the conflict “hot” and do not have arms sales “business” with the conflict sides, they will probably favor such an embargo. But the Russian Federation, which has recently been trying to justify its strategy of selling weapons, will probably make use of its right to veto in order to protect its interests of continuing the “business” and keeping the region “hot”.

It is worth reminding that according to the agreement reached in Budapest in 1994, OSCE Minsk Group member countries should refrain from selling arms to the sides of Karabagh conflict. Only two Minsk Group member countries have violated that agreement and they are Russia and Turkey. Russia also violates the unwritten diplomatic rule according to which you cannot mediate a negotiation process and at the same time break the fragile stability of the conflict.

In other words, you cannot state that the conflict should have an exclusively peaceful solution and at the same time arm both sides.

And though Russia continues to claim that it is maintaining a balance, the difference in the volume of arms supplied to the Armenian and Azerbaijani Armed Forces is not a secret to anybody.

Anyway, there is a hope that if the issue really reaches the UN Security Council, Russia will not use its veto right against the resolution of arms sales embargo to Karabagh conflict sides due to international pressure and in order to save the “peacekeeper’s” face.

Anna Pambukhchyan,
“Union of Informed Citizens”


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