Through various programs, the North Atlantic Alliance is preparing “external platforms” for itinerant military groups south of the Caucasus. NATO strategists say that such bases and garrisons should allow to enforce the Budapest 1997 Summit’s decision. According to this decision, the deployment of international forces should be performed by mutual consent of all the sides involved in the Nagorni-Karabaj conflict. That’s why a policy of pressure on Armenian leaders is being carried out so that they reject the presence of Russian troops in their territory. NATO’s Under-Secretary General Robert Simons has stated: “If Armenia opposes the presence of Russian troops in its territory, Armenia will have NATO’s support”
This is not the first time that NATO offers to mediate. Some conditions are necessary though. Turkey - a founder and active member of NATO - has established relations with Transcaucasia not only in this context but also in conformity with its own plans. Turkish politicians don’t conceal the fact that the Bundestag resolution regarding the Armenian genocide will not help settle the issue of the relations with Erevan. Without denying their role along with the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, Germany bore out the veracity of the facts and reminded the Turkish government about the need to admit its history. Nevertheless, the Turkish reserve the right to sow discord among their neighbors. That’s exactly what they tried to do recently within the commission of the European Council Assembly, when the Armenian constitutional changes were mentioned. The Turkish delegation proposed to amend the preamble of the Armenian Constitution and legalize the country’s borders with all the vicinity. Armenia could not take part in the voting while both Turkish and Azeri could motion their idea about Armenian frontiers. The proposal was turned down but only by one vote.
Evidently, NATO leaders don’t seem to be upset by such incidents or the Turkish commitment. On the one hand, Turkey blocks Armenia and on the other hand, it tries to make up a military bloc with Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Russia is a founding member of the Collective Defense Treaty Organization (CDTO) and keeps close historical ties with our region. Our border with Turkey continues to be watched by Russian soldiers. It is crucial to establish a CDTO base in the region. After the Russian soldiers will retreat from Georgia in 2008, Armenia will be the only country having the Russian presence. So, the CDTO specialists will be able to exchange views with their NATO colleagues on regional security issues. This is the only way to ensure security and development in the region according to modern requirements. And also, to encourage peace negotiations in Karabaj.

Gazeta SNG (Russia)
Gazeta SNG is an online news daily in Russian language.

Баланс сил и организаций на Южном Кавказе”, by Smbat Karakhanian, Gazeta SNG, June 28, 2005.