Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Stanislav Zas.
Nikol Pashinyan welcomed Mr. Zas’ visit to Armenia. “We appreciate our membership in the CSTO. The CSTO is one of the key elements of Armenia’s security system, which has a wide area of responsibility. Unfortunately, this perspective often causes us to become overwhelmed when it’s time to start a project. And that is why we are very seriously preparing for our presidency in the organization, not only in connection with the challenges that have arisen for us recently in terms of the security of the Republic of Armenia, but also in a broader sense.
I think that the challenges that exist in the CSTO area of responsibility, must be overcome with honor. Of course, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the CSTO is, first of all, an organization that solves problems through political methods. Of course, it is a military-political organization, but, first of all, it is necessary to make every effort to resolve the situations, disagreements and challenges that appear in the CSTO area of responsibility by political methods. And I think that the organization has a lot of opportunities to solve the problems by political methods. It is necessary for the organization and us to show some determination on these issues. Of course, in specific situations there are also very specific mechanisms of action.
You know that, unfortunately, there has been a crisis situation within Armenia for 2-3 months now, which poses a specific threat to the security of the Republic of Armenia. Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani armed forces have been illegally in our territory for several months now. Of course, there are many discussions about the CSTO response to this situation. I must say that in fact for the first time in the CSTO we are facing such a specific situation, we must study the situation very carefully in order to further increase the effectiveness of the CSTO mechanisms. I think your visit is also very important in this regard. In that context, we also take our presidency very seriously, we are preparing for it.
In this situation, we can find a political solution to the existing problems, there are all possibilities for that. It is necessary to properly use the mechanisms that exist in the CSTO.
On the other hand, I must say that the position of the Republic of Armenia is constructive in terms of the regional agenda. The Republic of Armenia, of course, is committed to the implementation of the agreements fixed in the statements of November 9 and January 11. It is very important for us to create the necessary conditions to find concrete solutions for the opening of regional communications. It is very important for us to really start the process of demarcation and delimitation of the border with Azerbaijan. Of course, concrete conditions must be created for that. I hope, I am convinced, that there are really opportunities for resolving this crisis situation, which has been created on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the Sotk-Khoznavar section, by political methods. I expect that within the framework of the CSTO we will be able to reach concrete solutions, in particular, related to the monitoring of the situation. This is the issue on which concrete decisions must be made.”
The Prime Minister added that they have many topics to discuss, expressed confidence that all issues will be discussed and concrete conclusions will be reached.
CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas noted, in turn: “Dear Prime Minister, I am sincerely glad to see you, the last time we met with you was in February last year. To be honest, it feels like it was another life, so many events have taken place during this year and a half. A week and a half after that meeting, the pandemic started, a lockdown was introduced, and then Armenia had to overcome a number of trials, including war and victims.
The latest event in the public and political life of Armenia is the parliamentary elections, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your victory in those elections. Of course, we were back with anxiety, there was a tough political struggle, but thank God everything went peacefully, there is no doubt, which is very important. I am very happy that life is starting to improve, people’s mood is changing.
It seems that the right decision was made: to break the situation with those elections, to give people a chance to express themselves, I am glad that the economy is alive and well. So there are two important conditions exist for the country to develop.
Of course there are problems, as you rightly mentioned, but not only here. In the CSTO, we also discuss issues in other areas that exist in other regions of the CSTO area of responsibility. The situation has not improved during this year. That’s the Afghan direction, Tajikistan-Afghanistan, you know what’s going on there. Unfortunately, the process of withdrawal of American NATO forces from Afghanistan is over and the situation has started to deteriorate sharply and very quickly. Nobody expected that.
Remember, this year there was a conflict on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border, unfortunately people were killed there, dozens of people, including children. Thank God, the situation there was resolved thanks to the efforts of the two presidents, but the difficult situation remains. There are controversial issues related to the enclaves, which cause tension and clashes.
In the western direction, in Belarus the situation has significantly improved, either. The situation has stabilized, but there is a socio-political crisis. Pressure from the West on the authorities is intensifying, and today the United States has announced the imposition of serious sanctions.
Of course, all this has a negative impact on our countries. You have already highlighted the problems that are exacerbating this situation in the Caucasus region.
You paid attention to the crisis situation on the border, I was there today, I visited a motorized rifle regiment, its units. To be honest, I see that there is no border now, it is actually a line of contact of armed forcrs, and there are regular clashes and shootings. Of course, this should not be the case. We must do everything to overcome this situation, the crisis.
I know that you are currently developing a government action plan, I do not try to give advice, but I think it should be one of the primary, global tasks of the government to overcome this crisis to ensure border security, to enable our children to live in security, within that border, not on the border of military conflict. I am sure that with such maturity and experience, you will solve it through diplomatic and political means. There are enough victims, there are enough wars, everything must be done to solve the problems peacefully. I am sure it will succeed. We have discussed this topic for a long time. In May, at the level of foreign ministers, there was a general understanding that everything should be done so that the parties sit at the negotiating table and solve the problem.”
The interlocutors discussed the possibilities of resolving the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border through peaceful negotiations, the priorities of the Armenian CSTO chairmanship, steps to ensure security in the CSTO area of responsibility, as well as issues related to the organization’s improvement and efficiency.