Ruben Safrastyan: Obama’s policy will be conditioned by regional developments

Karen Ghazaryan

Ruben Safrastyan, Director of the Oriental Studies Institute of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, does not share the opinion that the US policy will not undergo changes, although the United States actually has an “old president,” not a new one. Safrastyan said during the meeting with reporters today that our region is in a stage of rapid changes, the pace, process and final outcome of which is not known to anyone yet. According to him, Obama’s policy will be conditioned exceptionally by regional developments.

The US will have a new Secretary of State, and this will result in a new policy in the region, Ruben Safrastyan told a press conference. The expert noted that the region was in the focus of US attention during Obama’s first term, but added that the attention will now shift towards Syria and Iran. These two spots will determine the US approaches to the South Caucasian region, he said.

As for the Karabakh issue, Ruben Safrastyan noted the US had yielded the initiative to Russia during Obama’s first term in office. According to him, no changes should be expected in US principles; however, it will come forth with new initiatives within the framework of the Madrid Principles.

Director of the Oriental Studies Institute recalled that neither Obama, nor Romney met with representatives of the Armenian community and neither of the candidates gave any pledges. According to him, this was connected with the growth of Turkey’s role in the region. As for the fact that 80% of Armenians voted for Obama, Safrastyan said “the Armenian community has traditionally been pro-Democratic.” “Besides, Obama used the term “Medz Yeghern,” which inspires hope that there will be progress on the Armenian Issue,” he added.

Touching upon the US initiatives in the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, Ruben Safrastyan said “the US is interested in the issue, and the new Secretary of State will be trying to revive the process of Armenian-Turkish talks.” He added, however, that much depends on who will be the new Secretary of State and whether he/she will be interested in the issues like Hilary Clinton.

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