The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) should not change its cautious position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict repeatedly criticized by Armenia, the Russian-led defense alliance’s secretary general said on Friday.
Speaking at a CSTO summit in Moscow in December, President Serzh Sarkisian rebuked Armenia’s ex-Soviet military allies for not blaming Azerbaijan for ceasefire violationsin the conflict zone that intensified in 2015. He said they should “learn” from NATO member states’ unanimous support for Turkey shown after the downing of a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border.
Nikolay Bordyuzha, the CSTO’s Russian secretary general, said that despite the Armenian criticism the bloc uniting six former Soviet republics should not reconsider its stance on the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute.
“I see no need to change, in any way, the CSTO’s position on this very sensitive subject,” Bordyuzha told Russian, Kazakh and Armenian journalists in a video conference from Moscow. “The CSTO is not involved in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.”
“So changing our position on this issue in any way would make no sense,” added the official.
Sarkisian’s criticism seemed primarily addressed to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The three Muslim nations maintain warm ties with Azerbaijan and have signed up in the past to multilateral declarations upholding Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.
The Armenian leader addressed the CSTO summit just two days after meeting with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Switzerland. Fighting along “the line of contact” around Karabakh intensified in the run-up to the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit, leaving at least a dozen soldiers dead on both sides. According to the Armenian military, Azerbaijani troops fired on its frontline positions from tanks for the first time since 1994.
Speaking later in December, Bordyuzha voiced serious concern at the upsurge in ceasefire violations on the Karabakh frontline. He said that a full-scale Armenian-Azerbaijani war would destabilize “the whole Caucasus.”