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Pashinyan: Armenia freezes participation in CSTO, Russian-led security coalition

by Martin Fornusek February 23, 2024 8:43 AM 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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Yerevan has "frozen" its participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) because it failed to uphold its objectives regarding Armenia, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told France 24 on Feb. 22.

Armenia's relationship with the CSTO, a Russian-led bloc of six countries, has grown lukewarm recently as Moscow failed to prevent Azerbaijan's lightning offensive into Nagorno-Karabakh last September, despite the presence of Russian peacekeepers on the ground.

The brief war ended the existence of a Yerevan-backed self-proclaimed republic in the region and drove out over 100,000 ethnic Armenians to Armenia.

"The Collective Security Treaty has not fulfilled its objectives as far as Armenia is concerned, particularly in 2021 and 2022. And we could not let that happen without taking notice," Pashinyan said.

"We have now, in practical terms, frozen our participation in this treaty. As for what comes next, we shall have to see."

Armenian officials have previously snubbed a CSTO summit in Minsk last November, as well as a Moscow parliamentary meeting a month later. In spite of this, the Caucasian country has made no definite commitment to withdraw from the coalition fully.

Russia’s ‘peacekeeper’ act crumbles as Azerbaijan overwhelms Nagorno-Karabakh
On Sept. 19, just under three years after the end of the last major war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Baku moved decisively to finish what it started in 2020. Shortly after the announcement of the launching of “anti-terrorist” measures by the Azerba…

Pashinyan also said that the topic of ending Russian military presence in Armenia is not on the agenda. Russia maintains an army base near the city of Gyumri, as well as an airbase not far from Armenia's capital, Yerevan.

The Armenian prime minister has repeatedly accused Moscow of being an unreliable partner and sought to foster security ties with other countries, such as France, the U.S., or India.

Building up the country's defense capabilities remains crucial as there are fears in Yerevan that Azerbaijan might launch yet another war, this time targeting Armenia itself. Baku has rejected these accusations.

The two countries have so far failed to conclude a peace agreement and the demarcation of their heavily militarized border. According to Pashinyan, Baku's alleged disregard for "principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders" prevents a finalization of the treaty.

"Azerbaijan is using the situation to feed its rhetoric. That leads one to think that Azerbaijan is getting ready for a new attack on Armenia," the prime minister said.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has brought up the matter of determining control over Armenian and Azerbaijani ethnic enclaves.

Yerevan fears that Azerbaijan may try to use force to create a land bridge to Nakhchivan, an Azerbaijani exclave lodged between Armenia, Turkey, and Iran.

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