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Pashinyan slams CSTO members for arms trade with Azerbaijan

17 May 2022
Niklol Pashinyan at the CSTO summit. Official photo.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has slammed the CSTO and its member states for not supporting Armenia during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and during Azerbaijan’s subsequent incursions in Syunik, as well as for selling arms to Azerbaijan. 

The PM made the comments during a summit with the leaders of member states of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation on Monday.

The CSTO responded to the criticism by saying that ‘conclusions have been made’  and that ‘adjustments will be made’.

‘As you know, one year ago, Azerbaijani troops invaded Armenia’s sovereign territory,’ Pashinian said at the summit. ‘Armenia appealed to the CSTO to activate its mechanisms for crises. Unfortunately, we cannot say that the organisation reacted in the way the Republic of Armenia would expect’.

Pashinyan emphasised the importance of ‘rapid reaction mechanisms’ of the organisation’s treaty, which he said did not work during the 2021 Spring incursion. 

[Read more: Apparent inaction gives rise to criticism of CSTO in Armenia]

Pashinyan also slammed the member states for selling arms to ‘unfriendly’ states to Armenia, hinting at arms sales to Azerbaijan from many CSTO members, including Russia, which is one of the largest suppliers of arms to Azerbaijan. 

‘Those weapons were used against Armenia and the Armenian people’, Pashinyan said. ‘This is also a problem, to be honest, the reaction of the CSTO member states during the 44-day war in 2020, and also after the war, was not so encouraging for the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people’. 

Despite his criticism, Pashinyan also said that Armenia was still ‘positive’ about ‘fully supporting the organisation and its further development’. 

The main focus of the meeting, however, was the war in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion has not been publicly supported by the leaders of the CSTO states, except for Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. He urged the organisation to unite ‘against the West’. 

The leaders adopted a joint statement during the summit which did not mention the war in Ukraine or Armenia–Azerbaijan relations. The statement did express ‘readiness’ to cooperate with NATO to ensure a ‘sustainable peace in the Eurasian region’.

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