By Gevorg StamboltsianThe secretary general of a Russian-led military pact of which Armenia is a member spoke out on Saturday against NATO’s expansion to or any other military presence in the South Caucasus.
Nikolay Bordzyuzha of the six-nation Collective Security Treaty (CST) organization reaffirmed Moscow’s strong opposition to NATO’s ongoing enlargement. The decade-long process marked a new milestone when the ex-Soviet Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania officially joined the U.S.-led alliance on April 1.
“I think that such a course of developments is unacceptable,” Bordyuzha told a news conference in Yerevan. “We keep talking about common challenges and dangers of terrorism [facing Russia and the West]. But unfortunately military infrastructures are being restored around Russia.”
Bordyuzha added that a deployment of “mobile or stationary structures” of NATO in the region would threaten the national security of Russia and its allies.
Neighboring Azerbaijan and especially Georgia have made their eventual membership of NATO a top foreign policy priority and are consistently enhancing their cooperation with the alliance. Armenia, which relies on close military ties with Russia, has ruled out the possibility of its membership, while stepping up its participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in recent years.
Bordyuzha spoke to journalists at the end of a two-day visit to Armenia during which he met with President Robert Kocharian and other senior officials. The official purpose of his trip was to discuss preparations for a summit of the CST member states which is scheduled to take place in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana in June. Bordyuzha said the tense political situation in Armenia was also discussed at the talks.