Armenia signs on to US democracy statement – with Ukraine war reservation

By Mark Dovich

Armenia joined India and Mexico Wednesday to sign on to a U.S. pro-democracy declaration while making reservations over a paragraph condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In a press release, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s office said it had refused to endorse a paragraph “demand(ing) that Russia immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw” from Ukraine because it “does not reflect all conflicts and crises in (a) comprehensive and inclusive manner and fails to address the fact of Azerbaijan’s acts of aggression” against Armenia.

Armenia’s reservation on the declaration, put forward after U.S. President Joe Biden’s signature Summit for Democracy earlier this week, underscores how Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year has forced Armenia into difficult and uncomfortable diplomatic positions.

As ties between Russia and the West have frayed over Ukraine, Armenia has sought to take a more or less balanced stance. For instance, Armenia has declined to condemn the war, but has also ruled out recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of four eastern Ukrainian regions. Meanwhile at the United Nations, Armenia has repeatedly abstained on Ukraine war resolutions.

Earlier Wednesday, Pashinyan told summit attendees that his administration “continues to implement the democratic reform agenda” and “remains committed to the peace process with Azerbaijan.”

Delegations from dozens of countries around the world took part in this year’s remote summit, including Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, who decried Russia’s “war against democracy, freedom, and human dignity,” according to the Civil.ge news website. In contrast, Pashinyan did not mention Ukraine in his address.

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, and Turkey were not invited.