Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian denied on Wednesday the Kremlin’s claim that that this week’s summit of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was cancelled at Armenia’s request.
Pashinian said on December 2 that Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed to postpone the December 6 summit in Saint Petersburg because of the CSTO member states’ continuing failure to choose a new secretary general of the organization.
A senior aide to Putin, Yury Ushakov, said on Tuesday, however, that it was the Armenian government that initiated the summit’s cancelation because of parliamentary elections that will be held in Armenia on December 9.
Pashinian described Ushakov’s statement as “strange.” “Armenia didn’t ask anyone for anything. Nor did we propose [the summit’s cancellation,]” he told reporters while campaigning for the elections in Yerevan.
Pashinian’s press secretary, Arman Yeghoyan, also insisted on Tuesday that Yerevan did not force the summit cancellation. Yeghoyan reaffirmed Pashinian’s December 2 statement on the issue.
Meanwhile, Moscow stood by Ushakov’s claim. “Ushakov’s comments do not need to be reaffirmed,” Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told Tert.am. “And the statement by the Armenian prime minister’s press secretary is a cause for concern in terms of both content and form.”
The CSTO leaders were due to again try in Saint Petersburg to pick a new CSTO secretary general by consensus.
The previous CSTO head, Yuri Khachaturov of Armenia, was dismissed last month after being indicted by Armenian law-enforcement authorities over a 2008 crackdown on opposition protesters in Yerevan. Pashinian government hoped to replace him with another Armenian secretary general.
The presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan objected to that at the CSTO’s November 8 summit held in the Kazakh capital Astana. They demanded that a representative of Belarus be named as new head of the CSTO.