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Pashinian Criticizes Russian-Led Military Bloc


KYRGYZSTAN -- CSTO leaders pose for a photo prior to a session of the Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Bishkek, November 28, 2019

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian criticized the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Wednesday for not publicly siding with Armenia in its ongoing border dispute with Azerbaijan.

Armenia appealed to the CSTO after Azerbaijani troops reportedly advanced into some of its border areas two weeks ago. Yerevan asked the military alliance to invoke Article 2 of its founding treaty which requires the CSTO to discuss a collective response to grave security threats facing member states.

The foreign ministers of Armenia, Russia, and four other ex-Soviet republics making up the bloc discussed the border dispute when they met in Tajikistan later in May. They expressed concern over the continuing tensions but did not issue joint statements in support of Armenia.

“The speed of CSTO actions does not satisfy us,” Pashinian said during his government’s question-and-answer session in the Armenian parliament. “But we will continue to … work with our partners and present further clarifications of the situation.”

Pashinian complained that CSTO member states have not formulated “explicit positions” on what Yerevan regards as Azerbaijani intrusion into Armenian territory.

“Such a position is expressed at the working level but not publicly, and we want clarity on this issue,” he said.

A CSTO spokesman, Vladimir Zaynetdinov, told the RIA Novosti news agency later in the day that the bloc’s Moscow-based secretariat “took note” of Pashinian’s remarks.

Zaynetdinov also cited a statement on the border crisis made by the CSTO’s deputy secretary general, Valery Semerikov, earlier this week.

Semerikov called for urgent “political and diplomatic” measures to end the crisis. He also stressed the need for a demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Pashinian noted that Yerevan could turn to the UN Security Council “if it turns out that the instruments of the CSTO or the treaty on the joint Russian-Armenian military contingent are not enough to resolve this problem.”

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