"Take aid to Armenia off the agenda" - Yerevan's appeal to the CSTO
Armenia’s rejection of CSTO assistance
“Armenia has asked its partners to withdraw the document on assistance to the country from the agenda.” This statement was made by the secretary general of the CSTO military bloc operating under the auspices of Russia.
Official Yerevan, which has recently been denying rumors about leaving the CSTO and changing the vector of its foreign policy, has not yet commented on this information. Armenian experts consider the current stage of Armenian-Russian relations to be the most dangerous. In their opinion, the country should have announced its withdrawal from the CSTO when it receives clear security guarantees from its Western partners.
Armenia asked for help, then refused it
CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov reported Armenia’s decision to refuse the assistance of partners in the bloc during a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
“The Armenian side, although all other allies supported this decision, did not express any interest in this document and, moreover, in the final part of our work they asked to remove it from the agenda altogether.”
This is about the document which in November 2022 the Armenian Prime Minister refused to sign during the CSTO summit held in Yerevan. The document was called Draft Decision of the Collective Security Council on joint measures to assist Armenia.
Nikol Pashinyan explained his decision this way:
“Since May 11, 2021, Azerbaijan has used armed forces three times and occupied approximately 140 square kilometers of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. What do we expect from the CSTO in this regard? A statement of this fact in the form of a clearly formulated political assessment. To refrain from such an assessment by saying that there is no border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is to say that there is no CSTO zone of responsibility. And if there is no zone of responsibility, there is no organization.”
“This is not a demarche”, but Armenia will not participate in the CSTO Council meeting
The next meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council is scheduled for November 23 in Minsk. In a telephone conversation with Lukashenko, the Armenian prime minister said he would not be able to participate.
“And expressed hope that the CSTO partners will take this decision with understanding,” the official statement reads.
According to a spokesman for the Belarusian president, Lukashenko suggested Pashinyan “not hurry, not make hasty decisions, but seriously consider the next steps that could be aimed at disintegration.” And Putin’s spokesman expressed regret and emphasized that “such meetings are a very good occasion for exchanging opinions, for checking the clock.”
The Prime Minister’s Office did not say why Pashinyan would not be able to travel to Minsk and take part in the meeting. He expressed his position on this issue himself. Pashinyan reminded that the bloc did not respond to the security challenges faced by the member of the bloc and Armenia’s repeated appeals for help, which is not normal. He also explained the refusal to participate in the activities of this organization:
“The CSTO refuses to fix what is its zone of responsibility in Armenia. By silently participating in these conditions [in the CSTO events], we can simply join the logic that in any way questions the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia”.
Armenia’s parliamentary opposition considers this approach a “diplomatic demarche” and says the “change of camp” could have serious consequences for the country.
In response, the representative of the ruling team, Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan objected that the refusal to participate in the meetings is “not a demarche”, the Armenian side has questions regarding the position of the CSTO and expects to receive answers from its partners.
In May 2021 and September 2022, when the Azerbaijani Armed Forces advanced deep into the sovereign territory of the country, the Armenian authorities appealed not only to the CSTO but also to Russia for assistance. All appeals remained unanswered.
After that, in 2023 Armenia refused to host CSTO military exercises, gave up the quota of deputy secretary general in the bloc, recalled its ambassador to the organization and did not appoint a new one. Against the backdrop of strained Armenian-Russian relations, Pashinyan and other senior Armenian officials boycott not only CSTO meetings but also CIS events. At the same time, the country’s authorities declare that they “do not intend to change the foreign policy vector”.
Political scientist Suren Surenyants
“Yerevan has asked its CSTO allies to withdraw the document on assistance to Armenia from the agenda. And at the same time it declares that it is not changing its foreign policy vector, just diversifying its foreign policy. A real adventure. With Nikol Pashinyan’s light hand, the burden of ensuring Armenia’s security is removed from Russia and the CSTO with all the unfavorable consequences that follow,” Surenyants wrote on Telegram.
Political observer Armen Baghdasaryan
“This is the most dangerous stage. In our situation, it can be dangerous to abruptly abandon one security system without getting substantial guarantees from the other. I think we should not discuss the question of which security system is more reliable, but we should discuss the question of how dangerous it is in this situation to change the security system without guarantees,” Baghdasaryan said.
Armenia’s rejection of CSTO assistance