Armenia freezes participation in Russia-led security bloc - Prime Minister
Armenia freezes participation in Russia-led security bloc - Prime Minister
Armenia freezes participation in Russia-led security bloc - Prime Minister
by DZRH News26 February 2024
FILE PHOTO: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attends a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries in Almaty, Kazakhstan, February 2, 2024. Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) -Armenia has frozen its participation in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) because the bloc had failed the country, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview broadcast on Thursday.

Pashinyan also said that Azerbaijan, with which Armenia has fought two wars over the past three decades, was not adhering to the principles needed to clinch a long-term peace treaty, and suggested Azerbaijan was preparing to launch another attack.

Baku on Friday called Pashinyan's allegations unfounded and accused him of stirring up regional tension and of damaging the peace process.

Pashinyan told France 24 television that the CSTO bloc, which is dominated by Russia, and the treaty underpinning it, had failed Armenia.


"The Collective Security Treaty has not fulfilled its objectives as far as Armenia is concerned, particularly in 2021 and 2022. And we could not let that happen without taking notice," Pashinyan said through an interpreter.

"We have now in practical terms frozen our participation in this treaty. As for what comes next, we shall have to see."

But he said there was no discussion for now about closing a Russian base in Armenia. That was subject to different treaties.

Pashinyan has in recent months expressed discontent with Armenia's longstanding ties with Russia and said Armenia could no longer rely on Russia to ensure its defence needs. He had also suggested its membership of the CSTO was under review.


Other ex-Soviet members of the CSTO include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Azerbaijan recovered swathes of territory in 2020 in the second war over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians but internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan's military took full control of the territory last year, prompting most of its residents to leave for Armenia.

In his remarks, Pashinyan said prospects for clinching a long-term peace treaty had been hurt by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's statements which Armenia interpreted as laying claim to large parts of Armenian territory."If the principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders are not recognised by Azerbaijan, it is simply not possible," he told France 24.


"Azerbaijan is using the situation to feed its rhetoric. That leads one to think that Azerbaijan is getting ready for a new attack on Armenia."

Azerbaijan's foreign ministry on Friday called the allegations unfounded.

"Statements that Azerbaijan is allegedly preparing for an attack on Armenia, and also that Azerbaijan allegedly does not adhere to international legal norms, are made in an effort to distort reality and deceive the international community," it said in a statement.

Key elements in securing a treaty are demarcation of borders and the establishment of regional transport corridors often through the territory of each others' territory.


Aliyev has also raised the issue of determining control of ethnic enclaves on both sides of the border.

Pashinyan and Aliyev have discussed moves towards a peace treaty at several meetings, including discussions last week at the Munich Security Conference.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski; editing by Miral Fahmy/Andrew Osborn)

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