Addressing the leaders of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan at a meeting in Yerevan, Pashinian said that during the past two years Armenia’s sovereign territory has been subjected to at least three instances of aggression from Azerbaijan.
“It is depressing that Armenia’s membership in the CSTO did not deter Azerbaijan from aggressive actions, and it is even more so depressive since, in fact, until this day we have not been able to reach a decision on the CSTO’s reaction to Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia,” he said.
Pashinian said the kind of attitude was “causing huge damage to the CSTO’s image” not only inside Armenia, but also abroad.
“I regard this as the main failure of Armenia’s presidency in the CSTO. The same can be said about the facts of escalation along the border between our allies Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan,” he said.
At the same time, Pashinian noted Armenia’s “successful actions” as the presiding country in ensuring “the CSTO’s prompt reaction” to the appeal of Kazakhstan’s president to provide support in restoring law and order in his country in January of this year.
“In this case, we resolved the issue overnight, which allowed Kazakhstan to avoid internal chaos,” the Armenian leader stressed.
Nearly 300 soldiers were killed on both sides in border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan on September 13-14, which proved to be the deadliest fighting since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh that claimed the lives of close to 7,000 people.
The CSTO sent observers to Armenia to assess the situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border after the clashes, but it effectively refused to grant Yerevan’s request for military assistance or a political statement denouncing what Armenia calls aggression by Azerbaijan and its occupation of parts of sovereign Armenian territory.
In his remarks at the summit Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the tripartite meeting between the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in Sochi on October 31 and their joint statement created “a good basis for future compromises” between Yerevan and Baku.
Putin said that “only through consistent implementation of agreements on border delimitation, unblocking of transport links and solutions to humanitarian problems will it be possible to achieve normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
“We hope that this will eventually pave the way for a peace treaty between Yerevan and Baku,” the Russian president said.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, meanwhile, said at the meeting held in extended formats that the Armenian side had proposed an addition to the document to be signed. “But we decided not to accept those two points, not to delve into them,” he said, without elaborating.
“But for the first time we agreed that there is some common ground to reach an agreement. As we understood from the presiding side, if we act the way we have discussed today, this Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict will end and a peace treaty will be signed. Nikol Vovayevich [Pashinian] is silent, so this means he also agrees with what I said,” Lukashenko said.
Belarus has taken over from Armenia the rotating presidency of the CSTO today. Lukashenko stressed that a resolution of the conflict between Yerevan and Baku will be one of the priorities of Belarus’s presidency in the CSTO in the year to come.
Speaking in Yerevan earlier on Wednesday Stanislav Zas, the outgoing secretary general of the CSTO, said that a draft decision of the Collective Security Council on joint measures to provide assistance to Armenia had, on the whole, been agreed upon, but needed more work on a number of points.
“Therefore, an instruction was given to finalize this document and submit it for signing to the heads of state,” he said.
Zas said that the document was drafted on the basis of the conclusion and proposals of the CSTO monitoring mission. He did not elaborate.
Leaders of the CSTO today also decided that Kazakhstan’s Imangali Tasmagambetov will succeed Belarus’s Zas as secretary general beginning next year.