Imperative for Karabakh Status Addressed at CSTO Summit
During a summit of CSTO-member states’ foreign ministers in Yerevan on Friday, Armenia’s top diplomat decried the security organization’s lack of response when Azerbaijani forces breached Armenia’s sovereign borders last year and advanced their positions into the Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said while Yerevan remains committed to the mission of the CSTO—the Collective Security Treaty Organization—Azerbaijan’s incursion into Armenia in May 2021 remains an open issue for Armenia.
Soon after the May 13, 2021 incursion by Azerbaijani forces into Armenia’s sovereign territory, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan applied to the CSTO for assistance. The organization did not respond until July, when it said that Armenia and Azerbaijan need to resolve the matter through negotiations.
“In January the organization responded to the incidents in Kazakhstan at the right time, but the issue connected with the incursion of the Azerbaijani troops into Armenia’s sovereign territory, which started in May 2021, still remains open,” Mirzoyan said during a joint press briefing held after the summit with CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas in Yerevan on Friday.
“Armenia has been and remains committed to the initiating cooperation within the CSTO aimed at expanding the mutual partnership between the member states, including developing the foreign policy coordination within the CSTO and raising the role of the Organization in the international arena,” added Mirzoyan.
During a meeting with Zas and the CSTO foreign ministers, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also echoed Mirzoyan’s concerns over the group’s lack of response during last year’s armed incursion by Azerbaijan into Armenia’s territory.
He also highlighted the importance of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, voicing Yerevan’s support for the involvement of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. Since the Ukraine war and the showdown between the West and Russia, the three co-chairing countries—Russia, the United States and France—have signaled that the group’s fate is in question. The co-chairs representing each country have been given new diplomatic ranks having to do with the Caucasus.
Pashinyan briefed the CSTO representatives about the current situation in the region, and spoke about the activity of the Armenia-Azerbaijan delimitation and border security commission, the opening of regional transit routes and the return of Armenian prisoners of war, hostages and other civilians still being held in Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan emphasized that the transit routes that are to be opened must operate with the sovereignty of the country through which they pass remaining intact. In this context, he also said that there cannot be discussion of a corridor, referring to Baku’s insistence to establish the so-called “Zangezur Corridor” that connects mainland Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan through a road in Armenia.