Yerevan initiated last week an emergency summit of the military alliance in another attempt to secure such support in the face of what it regards as Azerbaijani military aggression. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian again urged the CSTO to come up with a “roadmap for restoring Armenia’s territorial integrity.”
Speaking at the virtual summit, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko opposed any CSTO intervention in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. He said that Azerbaijan is not an adversary of Belarus and other CSTO member states and its President Ilham Aliyev is “totally our guy.” Pashinian should therefore negotiate with Aliyev over Armenian-Azerbaijani border disputes, he said.
A CSTO statement issued as result of the summit did not voice support, let alone promise military aid, for Armenia. According to Pashinian’s press office, a report presented by CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas to the member states confirmed that Azerbaijani forces invaded Armenian territory in September and called for their withdrawal.
Lukashenko reaffirmed his stance when he met with Zas in Minsk on Tuesday. He also went farther, effectively blaming Armenia for the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia’s leadership hit out at Lukashenko on Wednesday, accusing him of not honoring his country’s CSTO membership obligations.
“I saw nothing serious in his comments,” parliament speaker Alen Simonian told reporters. “I am worried that his comments were not quite his.”
"We do not consider it appropriate to comment on the Belarusian president’s chaotic statements divorced from the logic of negotiations and contradicting allied and partner relations," the Armenian Foreign Ministry said for its part.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry dismissed the Armenian reaction as “unprofessional.”
“It is quite clear that the approaches voiced by the president of Belarus are on the contrary based on reality, understandable and honest in an allied way,” said a ministry spokesman.
Lukashenko, who has a warm personal rapport with Aliyev, has repeatedly raised eyebrows in Armenia in the past with pro-Azerbaijani statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and arms supplies to Baku.
In February this year, he also angered Yerevan by claiming that Armenia will have no choice but to join a Russian-led “union state” of former Soviet republics. Armenian pro-government lawmakers launched scathing attacks on the Belarusian strongman who has been in power since 1994.