Robert HARNEIS - TDO- (FRANCE) - For the first time Armenia abstained and did not vote in lock step with Russia at the UN General Assembly on the question of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Since 2008 Georgia has raised the right of return of its citizens to the two break away republics, recognized by Russia since the Russo-Georgian war and supported since the 1990s.

The move would appear to be a gesture towards better relations with Georgia in the hope that Georgian will support Armenia over Nagorno Karabagh.

The General Assembly once again this year adopted a resolution confirming the right of Georgians, driven out of the two self-declared republics, to return. A majority of UN members recognize this right largely motivated by the desire to please the United States on a matter that does not concern them greatly.

The Armenian government also hopes to persuade the Georgian government to allow the reopening of the rail link between Armenia and Russia that crosses Georgia. At the same time it is perhaps a move by the new Armenian government to establish a more flexible diplomatic relationship with Russia, especially regarding UN votes.

Arsen Kharatayan, former adviser on foreign relations to the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan commented on his Facebookpage that the vote was crucial to relations of confidence between the two countries. He wrote “Armeno-Georgian relations ought to be above the influence of a third party”.

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