GYUMRI — Parliament speaker Alen Simonyan on Friday accused the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) of “criminal inaction” and did not rule out the possibility of Armenia’s exit from the Russian-led military alliance.
“If Armenia’s interests require any [foreign policy] U-turn, there will be such a U-turn,” Simonyan told reporters in Gyumri. “If such a decision is made the people of Armenia will know about it.”
“On a number of occasions, the CSTO has demonstrated criminal inaction, to say the least, towards Armenia,” he charged. “Let nobody think that we expected or expect soldiers of [other] CSTO countries to come here and shoot at Azerbaijanis. But we should have at least seen a political evaluation [of Azerbaijan’s actions,] and we haven’t seen it.”
Simonyan, who is a leading political ally of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, referred to the CSTO’s and Russia’s failure to condemn Azerbaijan’s offensive military operations launched along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border last year and in 2021. Armenia officially requested military aid from its ex-Soviet allies in September 2022.
Pashinyan subsequently pledged to “diversify” his Armenia’s foreign and security policy, saying that Russia is “unable or unwilling” to honor its security commitments to his country. He and other Armenian officials have boycotted high-level CSTO meetings held in recent months, raising growing questions about Armenia’s continued membership in the alliance.
It contrast to his harsh criticism of the CSTO, Simonian said Armenia should remain a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a Russian-led trade bloc, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a larger and looser grouping of former Soviet republics. He pointed to its economic dependence on Russia and described the CIS as a “platform for cooperation that benefits our country.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested on Thursday that Yerevan is not planning to leave any of the three organizations.
“I don’t think that it is in Armenia’s interests to end its membership in the CIS, the EEU and the CSTO,” Putin told a year-end news conference in Moscow.