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Armenia, Allies ‘Still Discussing’ New CSTO Head


Armenia - Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan speaks at a news briefing in Yerevan, 14 August 2018.

Official Yerevan on Tuesday declined to shed light on its efforts to replace the current secretary general of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Yuri Khachaturov, with another representative of Armenia.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry only reported continuing “discussions” among the CSTO members on Khachaturov’s possible successors. “The process is still ongoing,” said a ministry spokeswoman, Anna Naghdalian.

“As you know, we have initiated a replacement process,” Naghdalian told a news conference. “All other issues are in the domain of internal discussions only the results of which will be made public later on.”

Armenia moved to replace Khachaturov late last month after he was charged in connection with the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan. The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the retired Armenian general’s prosecution as politically motivated and said Yerevan must formally “recall” him before trying to name his replacement.

It remains to be seen whether Russia and others CSTO member states, notably Kazakhstan, will agree to appoint another Armenian as secretary general of the CSTO. A Kremlin official told Russian media earlier this month that the Armenian authorities’ decision to prosecute Khachaturov dealt a “colossal blow to the image of the whole organization.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed the issue at a meeting held in Kazakhstan on Sunday. Both men referred to it as a “problem.”

The choice of the next secretary general is therefore expected to be high on the agenda of the next CSTO summit due in October or November.

“In advance of the CSTO summit many processes are taking place at different levels within the CSTO,” said Naghdalian. “Decisions to be made as a result of those discussions will be submitted to the Collective Security Council for approval … There is quite a bit of work that needs to be done before October.”

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