The Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization—CSTO—has rejected an appeal from Yerevan, which was made in May after Azerbaijani forces breached Armenia’s sovereign borders and advanced their positions into the Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces.
Calling it a “border incident,” the CSTO’s Secretary-General Stanislav Zas told journalists on Saturday that the situation does not fall under the organization’s charter on collective defense.
“You have to understand that the potential of the CSTO is used only in the event of an aggression, an attack [on one of the member countries]. Here we are dealing, in fact, with a border incident. Thank God, there are no casualties, there is no shooting there. This is a border incident, it must be solved, and we are in favor of solving it peacefully,” said Zas.
Last month an Armenian soldier was killed and six others were taken hostage by Azerbaijani forces, escalating an already tense situation. According to Armenian officials there are 1,000 Azerbaijani soldiers currently on Armenia’s sovereign territory, who pose a threat to the lives of Armenian citizens living in the border areas.
In his remarks, Zas claimed there was no escalation of the conflict.
“Actually, we cannot speak about any escalation of the situation there. This is already good, this is already a result. There is a lot of work ahead on the border issue, the resolution of all these controversial issues, but they need to be resolved at the negotiating table,” said Zas.
The CSTO Secretary General explained that after receiving the appeal from Armenia in May, the organization held consultations on the situation in the border regions of the country.
“Consultations were held at the level of defense ministers, secretaries of security councils, and I contacted both the Armenian foreign minister and the defense minister. We discussed this situation. In addition, we already had a general discussion of this situation during the Ministerial Council [Council of Ministers Foreign Affairs of the CSTO] in Dushanbe,” said Zas.
“A decision to form a monitoring mission was not made, although, of course, the situation is being monitored,” said Zas, adding that organization receives the necessary information from many sources, including from Armenia and Russian peacekeepers.