Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, was in Qatar this week on an official visit during which he met with senior Qatari government officials to bolster bilateral ties between the two countries.
Pashinyan met on Monday (13th June) with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He later had discussions with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz al-Thani, on bilateral relations and the deepening of economic cooperation. At the end of the meeting, a number of documents were signed in the fields of healthcare, tourism and business. Pashinyan also met with other government officials, including the foreign minister, as well as with members of the Qatari Business Association
This visit is the latest in a series of high-level diplomatic working trips undertaken by Pashinyan and Armenian government officials to shore up ties with some Gulf states.
During his visit to Doha the Armenian prime minister was interviewed by the Aljazeera television network. Answering questions about relations with Azerbaijan and on Nagorno-Karabakh Pashinyan said that he viewed the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh as being far from resolved, and that he still saw this as the most urgent issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Asked about the work of the border demarcation committees, he made clear that this had nothing to do the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but added that the work nevertheless remained crucial for border security and general regional stability.
Pashinyan was asked about the impact of the war in Ukraine on Armenia and its economy, especially given the strong ties between Yerevan and Moscow. He admitted that Armenia was in a “sensitive position”, and noted the impact of global economic tensions on the supply of goods and inflation. However, he pointed to strong first quarter growth as evidence that the economic indicators were quite positive, and that Armenia would be able to weather the storm.
On Armenia’s relationship with Turkey, Pashinyan said that the dialogue had been very positive, but hoped that tangible results could soon be achieved.
The Armenian prime minister also touched upon the "corridor" issue, re-affirming that his government saw the current the current wording and narrative about the so-called corridor as unacceptable and a red line. He stated that according to the trilateral statements, there is one corridor, connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, and that the issue of opening regional communications needed to be done “based on the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty and the inviolability of borders”.
Pashinyan also discussed Armenia’s relationship with the wider region, and he noted that Armenia had very good relations with two of its four neighbors, Georgia and Iran. While Iran is also on good terms with Azerbaijan, he said he viewed Iran as a country friendly to Armenia, and one with which work was currently being undertaken to improve cooperation. He also expressed hope that bilateral trade between Armenia and Qatar would increase, and lay the foundations for stronger relations.