CSTO's Yerevan summit complete "fiasco" for Armenia
    Nikol Pashinyan's failed policy

    ANALYTICS  25 November 2022 - 17:25

    Vafa Ismayilova

    On November 23, the Armenian capital Yerevan hosted a summit of the Russia-dominated alliance of post-Soviet nations - the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Although Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who declined to sign the summit's final declaration, described the event as a "fiasco" for the CSTO, facts show that it is actually Armenia's complete "fiasco" in the person of the baffled PM.

    The outcomes of the CSTO summit were disappointing for Armenia as the alliance did not reflect Yerevan's demands for putting pressure on Azerbaijan in its final document. Instead, Yerevan made vague statements and raised some inappropriate points, which Armenia's bloc partners decided to "keep for later", that is postpone.

    Armenia's "fiasco"

    At the organisation's earlier online emergency meeting convened at Armenia's initiative on October 28, CSTO members displayed no sign of "support" for Armenia, avoiding an adventure for the sake of Yerevan's interests and an attempt to break relations with Baku, with whom they have close relations. Pashinyan's assessment of the November 23 meeting as an opportunity to defend Armenia's interests, accuse Azerbaijan and force its army to withdraw from the current positions produced no results.

    Independent political expert Gabil Huseynli labelled the latest developments as Armenia's "diplomatic fiasco".

    "This is already a diplomatic fiasco. It demonstrated how large the gap is between Armenians' dreams and their opportunities. It was once again possible to form more precise ideas about the Armenian people and their leadership, who are incapable of taking any pragmatic stance and confuse the world with their unreasonable claims," he said.

    Huseynli stressed that Pashinyan believed that by flattering Russian President Vladimir Putin and personally greeting him at the airport, he could extract something from him against Azerbaijan.

    "He believed he could strengthen Russia's already flawed position on border delimitation and demarcation, as well as the Karabakh issue. However, the processes did not go as planned... He literally caused diplomatic embarrassment by participating in Putin's welcoming ceremony at the airport and sending deputy foreign ministers to welcome other heads of state. Furthermore, he wished to take some steps against Azerbaijan at the CSTO level. The organisation, on the other hand, acted objectively," the expert said.

    Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko believes that the phrase "big fiasco" could better describe the Yerevan summit outcome without "any trace of irony".

    "In the South Caucasus, we all need peace. To do so, our Armenian colleagues simply need to open the trilateral statement [signed by the Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders in November 2020] and implement it point by point - rather than engaging in continuous demagogy and provocations. Everyone is already sick of it. Neither Russia nor the CSTO will pull chestnuts from the fire for Nikol Vovaevich's team," he said.

    Before the meeting, the Russian expert predicted that CSTO members will repel Armenia's anti-Azerbaijan moves.

    "It is clear that Armenia is the aggressor and it is 'pushing' the European Union, France, and the United States into the region of the South Caucasus, hoping to change the format of observation missions to a full-fledged military contingent of NATO. If Pashinyan tries to attack Azerbaijan from the CSTO platform, he will be put on the spot again," the expert said.

    Former Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Tofig Zulfugarov valued Armenia's position as "illogic".

    "In general, Armenia's position does not follow logic. Armenia's illogical policy has resulted in the current situation. Iravan has made its decision. It is now hoping for assistance from the West. However, there is a major contradiction in this situation. On the one hand, Armenia looks to Iran's ruling circles, and on the other, to the West," the ex-minister noted.

    Pashinyan's failure to correctly define the tasks ahead and the ways of their realisation, his inexperience both as a head of government and as a diplomat can be assessed as factors behind Armenia's fiasco on all fronts. Members of Armenian society as well admit this.

    On November 24, Armenian opposition member Hayk Mamijanyan assessed the CSTO summit results as quite expected, especially given the actions of the current government in recent years. He noted with regret that in current realities, to ensure the implementation of international norms and obligations, the country must have weight and be a subject of international relations. After Pashinyan came to power, Armenia was turned from a subject into an object, the country is divided at will, and CSTO partners afford a disrespectful tone when addressing the country's leadership. All these are consequences of an ill-conceived, amateurish policy.

    Reasons for lack of support for Armenia

    It is noteworthy that it is extremely rare for a country to organise a summit meeting and then get criticised at that event. On November 21, President Ilham Aliyev recalled that Azerbaijan has more friends in the CSTO than Armenia does. The November 23 summit clearly showed that the CSTO members, who have close relations with Azerbaijan, are far from the idea of supporting Armenia in its claims against Baku. It can be observed that Armenia views all organisations it joined, including the CSTO, as means to realise its ambitions. Meanwhile, it does not take into view other member states' interests without even trying to consider them.

    Armenia's policy has always been designed to account for help from third states. Only thanks to foreign aid, they revealed their political ambitions. For example, during its 30-year occupation, Russia aided Armenia. Against the background of the current complicated geostrategic developments for Russia, the latter has no desire and ability to help Armenia.

    Russian expert Korotchenko outlined that CSTO countries regard Azerbaijan as a friendly and allied state and its President Ilham Aliyev as an authoritative and respected leader. As a result, rather than engaging in a confrontation on Armenia's behalf, the organisation is ready to assist in the discussion of issues and the search for solutions.

    "Armenia cannot rely on the CSTO for support in its daring and military provocations against Azerbaijan. Such requests had previously been made. However, we should remember that thanks to the unambiguous position of almost all members of the organisation, Yerevan's actions were rejected," the expert said.

    Armenia, which had been a Russian outpost for many years, shifted its focus to the West after Pashinyan took office. This meant that he had abandoned Russia's interests, and there were cold and serious contradictions between Yerevan and Moscow. Immediately after taking office, Pashinyan was involved in provocations against the CSTO and opened a criminal case against Yuri Khachaturov, the organisation's secretary general at the time.

    Russia saw this as an attempt to stymie the CSTO's work, and of course, Moscow could not accept this. After Azerbaijan defeated Armenia in the 2020 war, Yerevan continued its provocations against the CSTO. Failing to achieve its intention of using the CSTO against Azerbaijan, Armenia questioned the alliance's activities.

    It should also be noted that Kazakhstan and Belarus, members of the CSTO, do not treat Yerevan favourably. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly expressed his anger at Armenia at different levels. Experts believe that chanting slogans in Armenia against Russian and Belarussian presidents, as well as the CSTO, serves Yerevan's ambitions to gain support from the organisation under pressure.

    The abovementioned facts give us grounds to say that the entire world, including CSTO member states, is well aware of Armenia's true nature, which has occupied another country's territory for 30 years and thus does not believe in the sincerity of Pashinyan's proposals, initiatives, and demands in the context of resolving issues with Azerbaijan. The CSTO member countries recognise Azerbaijan's great potential, and its policy of consistent, clear, and equal cooperation, and accept Azerbaijan as a reliable partner.


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