Stanislav Zas, the secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), finished his visit to Armenia yesterday (10 August) with a meeting with the prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan.
According to the Armenian readout, greeting Zas, Pashinyan initially discussed the role that the CSTO plays in Armenia’s security system. Touching upon his vision for the organisation for when Armenia assumes its rotating chairmanship next month, he stressed the importance of finding political solutions to the organisation’s existing issues. “I think we have to overcome the challenges that have emerged in the responsibility zone of the CSTO with honor and solve all the problems. Of course, I want to focus on the following. The CSTO is first of all an organization which solves problems through political methods. Of course, it’s a military-political organization, but first of all it’s necessary to make all possible efforts to solve the situations, disagreements and challenges that emerge in the CSTO responsibility zone with political methods, which is also envisaged by the Charter and other normative documents”. The Armenian leader said that to find political solutions required his country and the organisation to show a “resoluteness towards those issues”, raising the months-long “crisis situation” on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and adding that it was “necessary to appropriately apply the mechanisms existing in the CSTO” in this context.
He added that Armenia was committed to implementing the agreements provided by the trilateral statements made on 9 November and 11 January. “It’s very important for us to create necessary conditions and reach concrete solutions in terms of opening the regional communications. It’s very important for us to really start border demarcation and delimitation with Azerbaijan. Of course, it’s necessary to create concrete conditions for that. I hope and I am confident that there are really opportunities to solve this crisis situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, at the Sotk-Khoznavar section, through political methods”. He finished by expressing expectation that they would be able to reach concrete solutions on the sidelines of the CSTO, “particularly, in terms of the monitoring of the situation”.
According to the Armenian readout, Zas began by going over all the challenges in the CSTO’s area of responsibility, including threats caused by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan; issues on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border; and instability in Belarus. Referring to his trip earlier in the day to the Armenian-Azerbaijan border area, Zas said, “there is no border, it’s a contact line of armed clashes, line of resistance, and periodically clashes, shootings flare up. Of course, it should not be like that. It’s necessary to do everything so that everyone has his line for overcoming the situation, this crisis.”
According to the CSTO readout, Zas informed the head of the Armenian government that the CSTO was monitoring the situation at the border and was concerned about “the increase and expansion of the geography of armed incidents”. “Of course, we believe that the incidents on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that you are talking about pose a threat to the security of Armenia. If we talk about ways of solving the problem, we think that the possibilities of a political solution to this situation have not been exhausted, in fact, it would be the best option for everyone", Zas noted. He added that ensuring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the member states was one of the key priorities of the CSTO.
The secretary-general also took some time to visit an Armenian military base on the Yeraskh section of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border as well as the Yerablur military cemetery in Yerevan to pay his respects to Armenian troops who had lost their lives during the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Speaking about Armenia’s upcoming CSTO chairmanship yesterday (10 August) at the Yeraskh military base, ArmenPress reports Zas as saying that “Armenia has always displayed not only with words but actions its eagerness to develop the CSTO and increase the organization’s effectiveness. This is seen during the entire course of joint work. And proceeding from this, we expect that during Armenia’s presidency concrete steps will be made in direction of our rotation’s effectiveness, including in various directions of the CSTO responsibility zone, unfortunately, in direction of increasing the rapid response to emerging challenges”.