Scandalous statements by Lukashenko. Opinion from Yerevan
Scandalous statements by Lukashenko
Over the past week the President of Belarus has expressed his opinion on Armenia and the situation in the region more than once. In Yerevan his scandalous statements about the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and the conflict on the Armenian border are discussed being continually. Lukashenko’s latest statement is that Russia’s mediation is enough for Armenia, with no reason for the West to interfere.
Earlier, he said that Aliyev is “absolutely our man” and that it is “wrong” to oppose the CSTO military bloc to Azerbaijan. At the same time, he overlooked the fact that Armenia is itself a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and asks the allies to protect their borders from Azerbaijan, which is not a member.
Lukashenko’s scandalous statements have been published by Armenian media since October 28, when an extraordinary meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council was held at the initiative of Armenia. It was a belated response to Armenia’s appeal to its allies in the military bloc after another September invasion of its territory by the Azerbaijani armed forces. The question again did not receive a clear answer. The official report following the results of the summit states that “joint steps were discussed to provide assistance to Armenia.” But what these steps are is unknown. The CSTO includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry did not consider it appropriate to officially respond to Lukashenko’s statements, but in response to a media request, regarded them as “unbalanced and non-allied.” Minsk itself responded: “Belarus has been confirming loyalty to its allied obligations not in words, but in deeds throughout its history.”
Political scientist Gurgen Simonyan says that “the statements from Minsk do not reflect the position of Moscow, although both Belarus and Russia are pursuing an unfriendly policy towards Armenia.”
Lukashenko’s statements, an indirect dialogue between the Foreign Ministries of Armenia and Belarus, what they think about the situation in Yerevan, as well as a political scientist’s comment.
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Lukashenko: “Why was the European Union dragged in, why is the OSCE being brought in?”
At a meeting with CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas, the President of Belarus stated that he understood the “game” being played by Armenia:
“The war is over. It’s clear how it ended. The parties decided that they needed a mediator. It’s the norm, it’s a classic. Naturally, this is Russia. […] Well, what else do you need? Let them work in this direction. I didn’t say idly that a certain game is going on. I understand what a game is, why they dragged the European Union into it, why they drag the OSCE there. [An EU civilian mission, as well as an OSCE technical group arrived in Armenia to assess the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border – JAMnews.] Well, why? It’s understandable why. What will they do there if there is already an intermediary there? And the CSTO needs to be drawn into it as if there is nothing else to do,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
Earlier at an extraordinary meeting of the CSTO, Lukashenko said that Azerbaijan is a friendly country, especially now that it is headed by “our man Ilham Aliyev.” He stressed that it is wrong to oppose Azerbaijan to the CSTO, since it is not an enemy and adversary for the CSTO member states.
The speaker of the Armenian parliament assured journalists that Nikol Pashinyan reacted to these statements immediately after Lukashenko’s speech, but “it is wrong to present this video publicly.”
“I suppose that the thoughts expressed by Lukashenko are not really his. I don’t know whose it is – maybe Moscow, maybe Baku or Almaty, but not his,” Alen Simonyan said.
Pashinyan himself, commenting on Lukashenko’s statement, stated:
“At the meeting I said that it was not about emotions. Someone can love someone more, someone less. We are talking about contractual obligations of the CSTO, about the law.”
“Non-allied approach” or “understandable and based on reality”? Indirect dialogue between foreign ministries
In response to a request from Armenian media to comment on Lukashenko’s statements, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vahan Hunanyan said:
“We do not consider it appropriate to comment on the unbalanced, inconsistent logic of the comments of the President of Belarus, calling into question the obligations of the CSTO member state signed by him.”
In response, the press secretary of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, Anatoly Glaz, told the TASS news agency that Lukashenko’s approaches are “based on reality, understandable and honest in an allied way.” He advised his Armenian colleagues “to carefully read and re-read the numerous speeches of the head of the Belarusian state on this difficult, but quite solvable issue.”
“Dictators of the world, unite!”
Head of the Prime Minister’s Staff Arayik Harutyunyan also assured journalists that the Armenian Prime Minister reacted to Lukashenko’s statements on the spot.
“This is not a boxing match, so there is a hard or soft answer. We have our own tactics, and we act in accordance with it,” he said.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan also commented on the topic.
“The stupid and emotional outpourings of the Belarusian dictator are dangerous because he tries to bring others down to his level and overcome them with his experience. Of course he prefers “his man” from Azerbaijan. Dictators of the world, unite!” he wrote on Twitter.
In another post, Mnatsakanyan stressed that Belarus is openly turning the CSTO into an “Azerbaijan Collective Security Organization”:
“The fact remains that the sovereign territory of the CSTO member Armenia remains occupied by Azerbaijan. Any peace negotiations without resolving the issue of the immediate and complete de-occupation of Armenia are a mockery of the world. Discussing Artsakh without taking into account the real, tangible, existential threat to its people is a prelude to an act of complicity and instigation of the massive crimes that Azerbaijan is ready to commit. He has provided enough warning signs for such trends.”
According to political scientist Gurgen Simonyan, Lukashenko’s statements should be understood as the words of the leader of an unfriendly state. He does not believe that the thoughts of the President of Belarus are a reflection of Moscow’s position, although he emphasizes that Russia’s policy is also not friendly.
“In my opinion this is just an indicator that the Republic of Armenia is in an alien environment for it, in the club of dictatorial states. This should be an incentive to revise relations in this format. I am talking about the CSTO, as well as other integration structures that have been formed in the post-Soviet space,” he told JAMnews.
According to the Simonyan, such statements should be soundly rejected. He believes that it is necessary to respond to the statement of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, and the comment of the chief of staff of the prime minister that this is not a boxing match, he considers an unprofessional approach.
According to Simonyan, Belarus has played “zero role” in the entire history of Armenia’s independence, which cannot be said about relations with Azerbaijan:
“Belarus has definitely been useful to Azerbaijan, including on the issue of acquiring weapons. The delivery of the Polonaise missiles, as well as personal, close relations, show that Minsk has contributed to Baku in many ways, being in the same military-political alliance with Armenia.”
The expert notes that power in Belarus has been usurped by one person, therefore Lukashenko’s policy extends to the whole country.
According to him, if in the future the people of Belarus manage to get rid of him and create a democratic state, “Armenia can then think about how beneficial the development of bilateral relations with this state is.”
Scandalous statements by Lukashenko