December 19, 2017

Rose Gottemoeller: We never dictate anything


NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller’s interview to Mediamax

- Madame Gottemoeller, Armenian officials often say, “We don’t promise what we can’t do, but we always do what we have promised.” Do you think this formula works for Armenia-NATO relations?

- Certainly, it has been a case with regard to Armenia’s commitment over the years to both the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and in Kosovo. We consider Armenia to be a very reliable partner and we appreciate the work your country has been doing over those missions.

- Armenia is the only CSTO member that has quite advanced relations with NATO and takes part in NATO-led missions. However, being a member of another military-political bloc implies certain limitations. Have you noticed any during the talks with Armenia?

- We never dictate anything. Even though we might like to work with Armenia in some different areas, if Armenia isn’t ready to do so or isn’t comfortable, then we never dictate. It is up to Armenia to list out its priorities, goals and objectives and then we work with Yerevan to put together what we call an Action Plan.

It has worked very well and now we are entering into a new Individual Partnership Action Plan for Armenia. NATO always says it is up to each country to decide its security relationships. We don’t see any contradiction between Armenia partnering with NATO and also working with the CSTO in appropriate ways.

- Despite the membership in CSTO, Armenia uses the Western experience of defense reforms and is one of the rare partner-countries that have completed two stages of Strategic Defense Review. What is your assessment of the reforms process in Armenian Armed Forces?

- It has been good so far. I have had a very good discussion with the Armenian Minister of defense today on military education and training, some very important new steps have been taken to provide more flexibility and training.

I think that is very important and good for Armenia’s economy, if people come out of army better trained. Also Armenia is now moving to the parliamentary system of governance, so it is very important to be thinking about the different ways of how the parliament can oversee the armed forces. NATO countries have a lot of experience over this, so we can bring some of it and provide that information to Armenia. We wait for the signals from Armenia as to whatever it wants to do with NATO.

- As you have said, Armenia is currently shifting from semi-presidential to full parliamentary republic and the process should be completed by next April. Is this is a process that NATO is following?

- We are following it and watching it with interest. It is up to Armenia to decide where its governing system is going to be, but it will mean a shift in legal framework, in how it provides for civilian oversight over the military. Now Armenia will have the parliament overseeing the military.

These are new developments for Armenia and we are all ready to provide advice as to how NATO member countries have dealt with those issues.

Taguhi Hovhannisyan talked to Rose Gottemoeller