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Armenian PM Pashinyan: Leaving CSTO Could Be Our Next Step

Armenian PM Pashinyan: Leaving CSTO Could Be Our Next Step

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that Armenia may leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the near future. Speaking during the debates on the 2023 state budget performance in the National Assembly on Thursday, Pashinyan addressed the opposition's claims that the government’s policies contradict its 2021-2026 action plan and therefore should resign.

Pashinyan explained that the government's action plan explicitly mentioned Armenia's intention to remain engaged with the CSTO and to work towards improving the collective security mechanisms. However, he highlighted that the plan also indicated questions regarding the CSTO's effectiveness. 

"We wrote that we have questions related to CSTO and we should go after getting the answers to those questions," Pashinyan said, referring to the 2021 action plan.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Armenia's doubts about the CSTO's effectiveness began in May 2021 when Azerbaijani troops invaded the Sotk-Khoznavar sector. Despite assurances from the CSTO that Armenia's borders were a red line, the organization did not respond adequately to the invasion. This lack of action prompted the Armenian government to gently question the CSTO's efficiency in their program.

Pashinyan further expressed his disappointment with the CSTO's failure to fulfill its duties in protecting Armenia's territorial integrity. He noted that during the CSTO summit in Yerevan in November 2022, Armenia refused to sign documents that did not meet its interests, in line with the government's program.

The opposition has argued that the government should resign because its actions contradict the action plan. They cited issues related to the CSTO and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as key examples. However, Pashinyan rejected these claims, stating that the government was following the program by questioning the CSTO's effectiveness and refusing to sign unfavorable documents.

"Should we have meekly signed those papers which did not correspond to the government's program and the interests of our country, which questioned our sovereignty and territorial integrity? And since we didn't do that, we need to resign?" Pashinyan asked rhetorically.

Pashinyan announced that the next logical step for Armenia might be to leave the CSTO. He clarified that the government program did not commit to remaining a CSTO member but rather to seeking answers to their questions about the organization. The timing of such a decision remains uncertain, potentially happening in a month or a year.

In response to Pashinyan's statement, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov emphasized that Russia would seek to understand Armenia's position regarding the CSTO. He expressed hope that the partnership and alliance relations with Armenia would continue.

"We hope that we will maintain partnership and alliance relations in any case," Peskov said, acknowledging Armenia's interest in maintaining these relations.


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