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CSTO Chief Relieved Of Duties After Being Charged In Armenia


Armenia - Retired General Yuri Khachaturov arrives at the Special Investigative Service headquarters in Yerevan, 26 July 2018.

Yuri Khachaturov, who headed the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty (CSTO) as part of Armenia’s rotating presidency in the organization, has been relieved of his duties.

Earlier, Yerevan formally recalled Khachaturov, who is charged with overthrowing Armenia’s constitutional order when he was deputy defense minister in 2008.

The CSTO on Friday said the procedure of Khachaturov’s recall from the post had been completed and he was relieved of the post of the organization’s secretary-general.

Valery Semerikov, who served as Khachaturov’s deputy, will act as CSTO secretary-general in the interim, according to the organization’s official website.

The CSTO is a Moscow-based regional security grouping that includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Khachaturov was officially charged in July of involvement in the “overthrowing of Armenia’s constitutional order” during an investigation into the crackdown that followed a disputed March 2008 presidential election.

The same charges were brought against former President Robert Kocharian, who was accused of ordering the use of the army for the violent repression of the protests, in which eight demonstrators and two police officers were killed.

Khachaturov, who is 66, was born in Georgia and was chief of the General Staff of the Armenian armed forces from 2008 to 2016. At the time of the protests, he was also deputy defense minister.

The leaders of the CSTO member-states are due to meet for a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, on November 8.

The issue of the appointment of a new CSTO secretary-general is likely to be on the agenda of the summit.

Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Friday that, in particular, discussions on the topic are planned during the meeting of CSTO foreign ministers that will also be held in Astana next week.

He said that Armenia does have possible candidates for the post of the CSTO’s secretary-general, but gave an evasive answer to the question on whether Yerevan will eventually maintain the post in the organization.

“This issue is on the agenda now… We are confident that we can perform this function. If we decide to nominate a candidate, then we do have sufficient resources in Armenia to have a candidate who can perform this function,” Mnatsakanian said.

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