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Official: Armenia not considering leaving Russia-led military coalition despite summit snub

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 23, 2023 10:15 PM 2 min read
L-R: Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan pose for a group photo during the welcoming ceremony of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Nov. 23, 2022, in Yerevan, Armenia. Illustrative purposes only. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Armenia is not considering leaving the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Mnatsakan Safarian said on Nov. 23, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The statement comes shortly after Yerevan's decision not to attend today's summit of the Russia-led military coalition in Minsk, attracting criticism from Belarusian and Russian leaders.

The CSTO is an international military alliance consisting of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia.

The summit, chaired by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko and attended by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, will reportedly focus on "issues of international and regional security" and Kazakhstan's upcoming presidency.

Despite the snub, Armenia also does not currently plan to discuss the withdrawal of Russian military bases on Armenian territory that host thousands of Russian troops, Safarian said.

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"At the moment, there are no such topics on our agenda," the Armenian official told journalists.

Tensions between Yerevan and Moscow have been mounting as Russia failed to halt Azerbaijan's offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh despite deploying peacekeepers in the region since the last war in 2020.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan implied that Russia failed to live up to its commitments as an ally, adding that he sees no further use in the continued presence of Russian military bases in the country.

The rift between the two formal allies has been further manifested in Armenia's refusal to participate in CSTO maneuvers in Kyrgyzstan or the coalition's ministerial meetings.

As worries grow that Baku may expand its aggression even to Armenian soil, the South Caucasian country has been looking further west for new allies, securing military aid from France.

Azerbaijan says it seeks peace talks with Armenia without Western mediation
Baku’s Foreign Ministry appealed to Yerevan “to avoid new unnecessary delays” and resume negotiations at a “mutually acceptable venue.”

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