YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signaled on Wednesday his readiness to pull Armenia out of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), saying that the Russian-led military alliance is becoming a security threat to his country.

“Instead of fulfilling its security obligations to Armenia, the Collective Security Treaty Organization is creating security problems for Armenia,” said Pashinyan. “And yes, I want to make clear that this [CSTO] position is a threat to Armenia’s national security … Contrary to its obligation to adopt an adequate position towards Armenia’s security, the CSTO is doing just the opposite.”

“We have frozen [Armenia’s membership in the CSTO] de facto, and if this process continues we will also freeze it de jure,” he told the Armenian parliament.

“We never wanted to drag the CSTO into a military conflict. If the territorial integrity of a member country has been violated and aggression has taken place against that country, then the seriousness of that organization can be seen, whether that organization is really dedicated to that principle or not. We didn’t say, ”come and solve the problem by military means.’ We asked to give a diplomatic and political assessment of Azerbaijani occupation of Armenia’s internationally recognized territory. We proposed that there should be a thesis that CSTO will use all political and diplomatic mechanisms to solve the problem. There was no agreement on these two points,” he said.

Pashinyan announced the effective freeze on Armenia’s CSTO membership last week. The Kremlin responded by demanding official explanations from Yerevan. It also noted that the alliance’s statutes do not allow such a suspension.

Last year, Pashinyan’s government not only shunned various-level CSTO meetings but also cancelled a CSTO exercise in Armenia, refused to name an Armenian deputy head of the organization and recalled the Armenian representative to its Moscow headquarters.

Armenia had asked Russia and other CSTO allies for support after Azerbaijan’s offensive military operations launched along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in September 2022. It has since repeatedly accused them of ignoring the request. It has declined CSTO offers to provide “military-technical assistance” to Yerevan and deploy a monitoring mission to the border.

Pashinyan insisted on Wednesday what his administration primarily expects from the CSTO is not military intervention but a “diplomatic and political assessment” of Azerbaijani occupation of Armenia’s internationally recognized territory. The alliance, he said, also remains reluctant to clarify its “zone of responsibility” in Armenia.

 

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