The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will not necessarily show greater support for Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict following the appointment of its new, Armenian secretary general, Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian said on Friday.
In recent years, Armenia has repeatedly criticized other ex-Soviet states aligned in the Russian-led alliance for not openly blaming Azerbaijan for ceasefire violations in the conflict zone. It has also denounced some CSTO member states for signing pro-Azerbaijani declarations by Muslim or Turkic nations.
In that regard, Sargsian cautioned against excessive domestic expectations from Yuri Khachaturov, Armenia’s former top army general who will take over as the CSTO’s new secretary next month. He said Khachaturov’s possible statements may carry less weight outside Armenia than those made by his Russian predecessor, Nikolay Bordyuzha.
“As much as an Armenian citizen’s appointment as CSTO secretary general solves the issue, it can at the same time complicate things because the Russian citizen Nikolay Bordyuzha’s statements carried more weight and were perceived differently than any potential statement by the Armenian secretary general will,” Sargsian told a news conference.
“Obviously, many will think that [Khachaturov] is an Armenian citizen and just couldn’t act otherwise, even though in that capacity he will act not as an Armenian citizen but an international functionary constrained by [CSTO] regulations,” he said.
The CSTO member states agreed in 2015 that their representatives will take turns to run the organization. An Armenian official was supposed to replace Bordyuzha shortly afterwards. However, it was not until last week that the presidents of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan unanimously approved Khachaturov’s candidacy.
The Karabakh conflict is thought to be the main reason for the delay. Some CSTO states, presumably including Kazakhstan and Belarus, were reportedly reluctant to have an Armenian hold the position because of their warm ties with Azerbaijan.