YEREVAN—Armenia’s Acting Defense Minister believes that Armenia should continue the chairmanship of the Collective Security Treaty Organization with its own candidate to serve out the term of the outgoing secretary-general who was sacked Friday because he is facing charges of breaching Armenia’s constitutional order.
“Taking into account that the chairmanship at this phase belongs to Armenia until 2020, a decision will be made within two days,” Davit Tonoyan, the acting defense minister said on Tuesday.
“My principled approach is that Armenia should continue [the chairmanship] of the CSTO. There is a normative regulation in the CSTO, the leaders of the countries must make the decision,” he said, adding that at this phase it is Armenia’s turn.
Yuri Khachaturov, who until his dismissal on Friday was the secretary-general of the CSTO has been charged with inciting a coup in Armenia in connection with the March 1, 2008 post-presidential election crackdown on opposition protesters, during which eight civilians and two police officers were killed.
Tonoyan, who was briefing parliament, also addressed the ongoing effort to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, about which he said that an agreement reached between Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Dushanbe, Tajikistan last month has significantly decreased tensions along both the Armenia-Azerbaijan and the Artsakh-Azerbaijan borders.
“Border tensions have significantly dropped after the Dushanbe agreement. An operative communication – telephone communication – exists between the two sides. We call immediately in the event of incidents of concern to us or the Azerbaijani side, movements or actions, in order to stop them,” Tonoyan said, adding that until now this communication has been constructive.
He explained, however, that there is no direct communication between Pashinyan and Aliyev.
He said that the Armenian side immediately reacts when the Azerbaijan side is carrying out reinforcement of positions.
After Russian press reports surfaced claiming that official Baku has offered to exchange prisoners of war, Tonoyan told lawmakers that currently there are no POWs in Armenia or Artsakh.
“There is no official talk in terms of exchange of prisoners. I’ve got this information from the media. If prisoners of war were to exist in Armenia or Artsakh they would be exchanged, but at this phase there are no prisoners of war,” Tonoyan said.
He explained that Azerbaijani citizens currently serving prison time in Artsakh are individuals who have committed crimes on Artsakh territory and, thus, they cannot be considered prisoners of war.