Hilary Clinton at the 2012 Universal Rights Award Ceremony, the USA Embassy in Yerevan earlier today
"I believe in Armenia's future"Kristine Aghalaryan
18:53, June 4, 2012
During her one day stop in Armenia today, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that, “The United States and I believe that Armenia can have a bright future where all the desires and work of the people can be achieved.”
See the video and hear what else she had to say at the official press conference in Yerevan.
New York Times
June 3 2012
Calming the Roiling Caucasus
By DENIS CORBOY, WILLIAM COURTNEY and KENNETH YALOWITZ
Published: June 3, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and
Georgia this week is timely. The Caucasus holds risks of confrontation
that could affect American and European interests, and it requires
regular and high-level attention.
Terrorism and insurgency are spreading in Russia's North Caucasus
region. Russian military occupation of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and
adjacent areas in Georgia heightens strains. Renewed hostilities are
increasingly possible between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the ethnic
Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.
Vladimir Putin's return to Russia's presidency adds complexity. He
seeks to increase Russia's influence over former Soviet neighbors,
counterbalancing the appeal of the NATO and the European Union. Last
month, Putin skipped a G-8 summit but convened leaders from the
Collective Security Treaty Organization, whose other members are
Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Russia is pushing for a widened Eurasian customs union, which Ukraine
The Kremlin is skeptical about democratic openings on its borders,
such as the 2003 Rose revolution in Georgia and the one a year later
in Ukraine. Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008 violated established
precedent in seeking to change by force borders of the former Soviet
states. Moscow engineered proclamations of independence by Abkhazia
and South Ossetia, but they are effectively being integrated into
Although last year Georgia agreed to allow Russia to join the World
Trade Organization, relationships remain tenuous. The Kremlin refuses
to deal with President Mikheil Saakashvili, and most economic ties are
suspended. Last month in Chicago, despite Moscow's opposition, NATO
reaffirmed that Georgia will become a member and noted its
`substantial contribution' - including in Afghanistan - to
Euro-Atlantic security. Georgia's holding of free and fair
parliamentary elections this year and presidential elections in 2013
will influence NATO attitudes about membership.
War over Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s displaced about a million
people and gave Armenia control of the enclave and another 9 percent
of Azerbaijan's territory. The Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe seeks a mediated solution, but negotiations are
long stalled. A fragile cease-fire is frequently violated. Russia arms
Armenia and maintains a military base there. Azerbaijan uses its oil
wealth for an arms buildup, and its ally Turkey has closed the border
with Armenia for more than a decade. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
could suddenly become unfrozen.
In the North Caucasus, popular alienation and militant violence are
increasing. Two dozen Russian soldiers died in an attack three days
before Putin's inauguration last month. Russia relies mostly on force
and economic subsidies to quell resistance, but the strategy has not
worked. Terrorism could be a real threat to the 2014 Winter Olympic
games in Sochi. Moscow might again blame Azerbaijan and Georgia for
aiding terrorists, as it did falsely in 1999 regarding Chechnya.
How can the America and Europe lessen risks in the Caucasus?
They should continue to stand firm for the independence of Georgia and
against the illegal occupation of one-fifth of its territory. Moscow
ought not to be allowed to assert control over the export of Caspian
energy through Georgia. Europe and America should importune Georgia
not to stir anti-Russian animosities in the North Caucasus. They ought
to cooperate with Russia to prevent terrorist acts around the
America and Europe can no longer keep the Nagorno-Karabakh talks on
the back burner. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev faces domestic
pressures to act, but Europe and America should caution him about the
adverse consequences, notably a broader regional war. Energy
investment in Azerbaijan and a major new gas pipeline to Europe,
Nabucco, could become casualties.
O.S.C.E. members have largely stopped engaging Russia about tensions
in the North Caucasus, but risks grow and could spill over into
Azerbaijan and Georgia. Members should use the permanent council in
Vienna to raise concerns and begin a dialogue.
In her visit, Secretary Clinton should spotlight these tensions and
offer reassurance that the West will work actively to prevent
confrontation and conflict.
Denis Corboy, a visiting senior research fellow at Kings College,
London, served as European Commission ambassador to Armenia and
Georgia. William Courtney served as U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan and
Georgia and special assistant to the president for Russia, Ukraine and
Eurasia. Kenneth Yalowitz served as U.S. ambassador to Belarus and
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 4, 2012, in The
International Herald Tribune.