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Armenia Refuses to Participate in CSTO Meeting in Russia

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Photo: Alen Simonyan won't take part in the meeting of the CSTO in Russia. Source: Alen Simonyan on Facebook
Photo: Alen Simonyan won't take part in the meeting of the CSTO in Russia. Source: Alen Simonyan on Facebook

The Chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia (Parliament), Alen Simonyan, will not take part in the offsite meeting of the Council of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which will take place in Moscow on December 19.

This was reported by the Novosti Armenia news agency, citing a statement by the press secretary of the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Tsovinar Khachatryan.

It is reported that Simonyan will also miss the 16th plenary session of the CSTO.

"The delegation of the Armenian parliament will not take part in the meetings either. The Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia informed about the decision in an official letter addressed to the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Volodin," the statement said.

Simonyan first announced his intention to cancel his trip to the CSTO meeting in late November. He called his participation "inappropriate in the current situation" and said that the organisation "does not fulfil its obligations to Armenia".

Earlier, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan refused to participate in the CSTO meeting held in Minsk on 23 November. Pashinyan expressed hope that the CSTO partners would "understand this decision".

Earlier this year, Armenia refused to host CSTO exercises on its territory.

In an interview, Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan's actions and the CSTO's inaction led Armenia to the decision to "diversify its security relations."

In May, Prime Minister Pashinyan said that the issue of the country's withdrawal from the CSTO remained on Armenia's agenda.

In addition, on 3 October 2023, Armenia ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the same court that issued the arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. Moscow asked for clarification, but Pashinyan assured that this step was not directed against Russia.

According to the BBC, Armenia is disappointed with Russia and is looking for new allies. Over the past three years, Armenia has discovered that Russia, its main ally, is not very willing or able to protect it from its neighbour and military muscle-bound enemy, Azerbaijan.

Political analysts offer the following explanation: for Putin and other more or less authoritarian leaders of the CSTO countries, Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev is their own, "classically close", even if his country is not a member of the bloc. The democratic leader Pashinyan, on the contrary, is a stranger.

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