Armenian leader deplores the inefficacy of Russian-led alliance
The leader of Armenia spoke out his frustration on Wednesday at the failure of a Russian-led security alliance to help his country while in need against what he called aggression by Azerbaijan amid protests in the Armenian capital demanding the country change its axis towards the West.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called into question the effectiveness of the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) in pointed opening remarks to a summit in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, as Russian President Vladimir Putin watched in silence.
"It is saddening that Armenia's membership in the CSTO did not stop Azerbaijan from resorting to aggressive actions,” Pashinyan told the meeting.
"Right up to today we have not managed to reach a decision regarding CSTO’s response to Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia. These facts do grave harm to the reputation of the CSTO both inside our country and outside its borders, and I consider this the main failure of Armenia’s chairmanship of the CSTO."
Armenia sent a direct request for assistance from the organization in September, when the Azerbaijan – Armenia border has seen the most violent confrontation since the Second Nagorno-Karabakh war, but the request met only with a promise to send observers.
Pashinyan contrasted that with the alliance's rapid decision in January to send troops to another member state, Kazakhstan, to help President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev survive a wave of unrest.
Before Pashinian’s speech in the summit, several hundred protesters gathered on Yerevan’s Freedom Square demanding that Armenia leave the CSTO over its failure to aid Armenia.
On Tuesday evening, participants of a protest organized by the National-Democratic Pole (NDP) chanted anti-Russian slogans as they marched through central Yerevan. They charged that neither Russia nor other members of the CSTO, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, helped Armenia.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been embroiled in a six weeks war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in autumn 2020 which ended with a series of major territorial victories by Azerbaijan after more than 6,000 people were killed.
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday discussed over a phone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, the implementation of an agreement reached last month in Sochi that imposed both sides to respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“The importance of continuing the work in the trilateral format for ensuring security on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and restoring transport infrastructure in the South Caucasus was emphasized,” a Kremlin statement about the phone call said.
Tuesday’s telephone call also was the second conversation between Putin and Aliyev in the last week.