Internet press conference with the Director of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning (Romania) and former Advisor to the President of Romania Dr. Iulian Chifu for Armenian media

On August 16, internet press conference was held with the director of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning (Romania) and former Adviser to the President of Romania Traian Băsescu Iulian Chifu for Armenian media.
Karine Asatryan,
Question - Romania has the Hungarian community, which considers that the area, where they live - Transylvania, should have been the part of Hungary or should have the autonomy to should have so much autonomy that they could remain collected taxes in their region. Will this be a conflict between Romania and Hungary.
Answer - it does not have anything to do with NATO summit! I’m not answering that.
Question - Is Romania under any risk of a terrorist threat?
Answer - As any member state of the EU, NATO and the West, if not as any state, there is a certain level of risk. Being member of the anti-IS coalition (the international coalition against Daesh, self-proclaimed Islamic State), the level of exposure is more important.
On the other hand, Romania is not a valuable target. At the same time, its security services are well prepared and excellently connected, included with the Middle East partners, and this help them avoid and prevent attacks. So the probability of a terrorist attack is quite low.
Question - What is the role of the United States in the Turkish-Russian tension?
Answer - This is not a question related to the NATO summit.
Davit Stepanyan,
Question –Some of your colleagues have already characterized the results of the negotiations, on 8, 9 and 10 August between Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, Erdogan and Ilham Aliyev as the birth of the Moscow – Tehran – Ankara – Baku -Damascus coalition. Don’t you think that in the context of the strategic retreat of the US and the Gulf countries, as a result of the creation of the coalition, the balance of power in the Greater Middle East has changed dramatically in its favor? If not, then please justify your opinion.
Answer - This has nothing to do with NATO summit. Generally speaking in strategic affairs things do not change at such a speed as your question is suggesting.
Question – Can we expect that the strengthening of Russia on its southern borders and in the border with it in southern countries will lead to strengthening the position of the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his victory over the rebels and terrorist organizations?
Answer - This has nothing to do with NATO summit.
Question – The negotiations between Russian president with its counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan on 8 and August 10 became the evidence to finally achieve leadership in Moscow's mediation for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Besides, the press is actively being discussed information about the intention of Moscow to begin the active phase of conflict resolution by giving Azerbaijan 5 regions Nagorno-Karabakh. How likely is the implementation of such a scenario, in your opinion?
Answer -This has nothing to do with NATO summit
Question - What are the specific mechanisms and capabilities operate today in Moscow to achieve its geopolitical objectives in relation to its neighbors in the former Soviet Union and Europe, in your opinion?
Answer-This has nothing to do with NATO summit.
Question – On what specific questions and responses to what specific problems and challenges, according to your estimates, the NATO Warsaw Summit has demonstrated?
Answer- There are lots of problems and issues where the NATO summit offered answers. Basically it did cover all the threats and risks specially those related to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine and continuing with terrorism, mass migration, but  not forgetting cyber defense and hybrid threats. At the same time it launched a deterrence and dissuading strategy in all the fields, including an important document of resilience and preparing the territory and population of NATO countries for a possible future conflict or hybrid attack.
Lusine Davtyan,
Question – The Islamic State terrorist organization and Russia found themselves in the same category as threats. To what extent do you think this is justified?
Answer – It is not the same category. One is a conventional and hybrid threat, the other an unconventional and asymmetric threat. The Russian threat is far more important than the terrorist one since we are talking about a revisionist and revanchist policy and documents naming NATO, the Us and EU policies as a threat to their national security. It is a country than has huge strategic capabilities including nuclear ones and the level of ambition to become once again a superpower and rebuilt its former empire under new rules, form and with new instruments in the post-Soviet space. It threatens directly both NATO states and new independent states that are NATO partners.
Question – NATO has agreed to stimulate the placement of 4mulrinationalbatalions in Poland and Baltic states to enforce the security system. Recently it became known that at the same time in 2017 Patriot missile systems will be placed in the region. Don't you think that these steps by the alliance will strain the relations with Russia and are they justified?
Answer – They are perfectly justified and balanced as proportional. They do not mean any real enforcement comparing to the troops of the Russian Federation on the Ground. On the Northern part of the Eastern Flank, the balance is 7:1 for Russia, with 3:1 is a guarantee, in military terms, of a success of an attack. I included here the four battalions. It is true that we are talking about equal technical capabilities and we have to admit that the Alliance capabilities are far more developed and modern. Article 42 of the final declaration is a declaration of solidarity, because any attack against the Baltic States or Poland means already attacking all those multinational troops. In the Southern part of the Eastern Flank, article 43 of the final declaration states the capacity of the Alliance to freely send troops in real time in any of the parts of the alliance where those troops are needed and with the formation of a multinational brigade was also formed under Romanian framework. And we are not talking only about ground capabilities, but also about air and naval capabilities. In the Black Sea, once again, Russia unilaterally moved huge military capabilities in Crimea and Novorossiysk, and the huge level of capabilities is far more important at sea than those of NATO. The only real dominance comes from the capacity of the alliance to move airpower and any type of troops in short time in the area and the capacity of an aircraft carrier sitting in the Aegean Sea to reach any target in the Wide Black Sea Area.
Question –In your opinion how justified was the EU's migration policy towards refugees from the Middle East and what steps should Europe undertake for the protection against the terrorist threat. In this context isn't it more useful to cooperate with Russia?
Answer – it is not linked to NATO summit. The cooperation could not exceed the limits of sanctions and threats posed by Russia to NATO.
Tatev Harutyunyan,
Question - Various comments received Putin - Erdogan meeting. How would you assess it and if you agree that the West is concerned the meeting of the Russian -Turkish relations warming.
Answer – There’s a level of concern and Turkey is questioned about those steps, but nothing dramatic happened. Turkey is a valuable and strong NATO member, it is keeping its position inside the Alliance, it needs the Alliance as NATO needs it, so I won’t magnify to much such bilateral developments that didn’t reach a strategic level or security or alliances perspectives. It’s a rebuild of the former Ankara/Moscow economic ties and discussions about the free action of Turkey inside Syria. But a lot of differences are present between the two capitals.
Question - Do you agree with the opinion that in the context of a military coup the Turkey-NATO relations strained. And how will the military Turkey's EU accession process on the coup attempt.
Answer – In the first case nothing changed in the NATO-Turkey relations. The tensions with US for extraditing Gulen is just a bilateral episode to be considered once the formal request will be filed, and has no impact on NATO’s activities where Turkey is involved. By the way, all those commitments are observed by Turkey as a loyal NATO member.
Armen Minasyan,
Question - Do you think the alliance is as strong and united as in the Cold War years. Do the security challenges of Portugal match to those of Georgia as a state seeking NATO membership?
Answer – The Alliance is stronger now than in Cold War times, since the capabilities and possibilities to react are far more developed, there’s a generation and a half/two generations between NATO countries military capabilities and Russia’s ones, and there are far more capabilities developed for the new risks and threats not present in Cold War times. Portugal security concerns are a part of the Alliance’s ones, Georgia is not a member country, but just a partner, and a part of the cooperation in the NGC and enhanced Defense Capability Building Initiative.
Question -Do you think the Alliance is considering the Karabakh conflict zone as another platform for competition with Russia?
Answer – No. None of the two countries is a member of the Alliance. But the conflict could harm energy routes and affect energy security of NATO member states and could create additional threats in the Wider Black Sea Area, affecting the NATO member littoral states Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Question - In your opinion what challenges faces the Alliance in the current situation? What are the main threats, country or group of countries for the Alliance in addition to the international terrorism, if any?
Answer – Those are clearly stated in the Final Declaration and the other 8 public documents of the Alliance. Russia, revisionism, changing the rules of the game, revanchist, imperialistic views are at stake, ignoring international law and European security commitments where Russia is a part, but also ignoring commitments inside the integrative institutions created by Russia – like the CIS.
Question - All three countries in the South Caucasus actively cooperate with NATO, in the fact that Georgia aspires to join NATO, Armenia is a CSTO member, and Azerbaijan is a member of the "Non-Aligned Movement.” In your opinion, in what conditions would be possible to eliminate the dividing lines in the region and what role in this process may take over Alliance?
Answer – It is up to the states in question to decide their alliances. Armenia is a part of the integrative bodies of Russia – CSTO. Azerbaijan is moving towards a rapprochement with Russia, and Georgia is heading towards NATO, but having two occupied regions by Russia, moving toward integration in Russian territory like was made the Russian annexation of Crimea. Even if all those states will decide the same solution for their security, the decision will belong to the NATO member states, and they are going to verify the conditions of common values, common democratic principles observed, an added value to the security of the Alliance as well as the sustainability of this options in time.
Question - The reality is that in the 21st century NATO has a closed border. It is the border between Armenia, the alliance partner and Turkey, a NATO member. In your opinion, do NATO have the appropriate tools to influence the situation? Moreover, it is not about trading, but for example, if necessary, to apply the Turkish-Armenian border for cargo transfers.
Answer - This has nothing to do with NATO’s role of common defense of the member states. It does not harm the achievement of this objective no means.
Tatevik Ghazaryan,
Question - Russia and Turkey announced in Saint-Petersburg a diplomatic reconciliation between two countries and restoration of Turkish Stream gas pipeline project. "Turkey-Russia relations are much better than the past. Both sides are determined and have the required will to bring the relations to the previous levels and even take it beyond", Erdogan said after their nearly two-hour meeting in St. Petersburg. How does and should NATO assess the "newfound thaw" in relations between Russia and Turkey? Don’t you think that Turkey is a weak link of the Alliance taking into consideration also significantly soured relations between Ankara and Washington?
Answer – Nothing of this kind. It is a bilateral relation of a member state restoring its economic ties with Russia. This has nothing to do with Turkey’s membership and responsibilities or commitments inside the Alliance. And, by the way, nothing changes in a two hour meeting, even for restoring relations, not talking about improving them more than what was once. (For a complete answer look at the above answers on this matter)
Question - Do you see any probability for the Turkish mediation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? What are the recent announcements by the Turkish side on the suggestions referring to the conflict aimed at?
Answer – this has nothing to do with NATO summit.
Question - Do you think Moscow and Ankara could go closer on Syria?
Answer – This has nothing to do with NATO summit.



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