Is CSTO Armenia’s Ally or Is It Neutral?

On December 1, the leaders of the CSTO member countries participated in the session of the CSTO Joint Security Council, during which a statement on supporting the OSCE Minsk Group efforts in Karabakh conflict settlement was adopted.

What does It Say?

In particular, the statement says that confirming the necessity of the exclusively peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict, the CSTO supports “the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in the settlement of the conflict based on principles and norms of international law, provisions of the UN Charter, as well as the Helsinki Final Act, which refer to non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the right of peoples to self-determination”.

It is also noted in the statement that the CSTO also supports the implementation of the agreements with regard to taking additional measures agreed upon during Vienna, Saint Petersburg and Geneva summits on Nagorno Karabakh aimed at preventing the escalation of the situation, maintaining the ceasefire regime, reducing the tension in the conflict zone and activating the negotiation process.

What Is Wrong with the Statement?

The CSTO statement would be quite logical and constructive if it was just another international organization.

But the point is that the CSTO is, in fact, a military alliance rather than an ordinary economic or regional organization. It is an organization with a specific defense purpose, and Armenia is a member of it. And according to logic, CSTO members should be Armenia’s allies, and the statements should be supportive of Armenia.

However, as experience shows, the CSTO is either always too late in its statements on Nagorno Karabakh, or they are extremely neutral.

For instance, at the end of 2016, the CSTO responded to Azerbaijan’s armed forces’ diversionary attack on Tavush region of Armenia only days later, in January. Moreover, the statement of then CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha did not mention a word about supporting Armenia. Rather, it merely expressed “concern” (the word “consolation” in the statement was, in fact, the formulation of Nagorno Karabakh Republic). Not less noteworthy was the CSTO response during the 2016 April war, which did not have any mention of supporting Armenia either. It merely mentioned that Azerbaijan has unleashed the escalation of the situation.

Of course, such statements are logical and in the interests of Armenia. But Armenia can receive such statements from the so called “alien” or neutral organizations, from the NATO to the Organization of African Unity. From the CSTO, which is its ally, Armenia can rightfully expect different quality statements that will suggest that the organization and its member countries are really Armenia’s allies and are ready to protect it from any aggressor, and support such a settlement of the conflict that is in the interests of Armenia.

Vahe Ghukasyan
“Union of Informed Citizens”

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