Armenia recognizes Palestine as a state, straining relations with Israel

Armenia has been cultivating closer ties with Iran in recent years, particularly as tensions with neighboring Azerbaijan have escalated.

Armenia officially recognized Palestine as a state on Friday, according to reports from Russian news agency TASS. The announcement, made by Armenia’s foreign affairs ministry, has prompted a swift and stern response from Israel.

Israel’s foreign affairs ministry summoned the Armenian ambassador for a stern reprimand following the recognition. This diplomatic action underscores the sensitivity of the Palestinian issue in international relations and the potential ramifications of such recognition.

Armenia’s statement also expressed support for a UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and advocated for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This stance aligns Armenia with a significant portion of the international community on the issue.

The timing of Armenia’s recognition is noteworthy as the country remained largely silent in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 attacks on Israel. It was only three weeks later, during a United Nations General Assembly vote on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, that Armenia made its position clear by voting in favour along with 120 other countries.

This latest development comes in the context of shifting regional alliances. Armenia has been cultivating closer ties with Iran in recent years, particularly as tensions with neighbouring Azerbaijan have escalated. Reports from 2023 suggested the presence of Iranian soldiers on the Armenian side of the border with Azerbaijan, indicating deepening military cooperation between Armenia and Iran.

Furthermore, French sources have reported that Iran has sent agents to manage the Blue Mosque in Yerevan, a historical structure dating back to the period of Iranian rule in Armenia. This move suggests growing Iranian influence in Armenian affairs.

Armenia’s recognition of Palestine as a state represents a significant shift in its foreign policy and could have far-reaching implications for its relationships in the region, particularly with Israel. As the situation develops, the international community will be watching closely to see how this decision affects the delicate balance of power and alliances in the Middle East and Caucasus regions.