The Collective Security Treaty Organization on Friday dismissed its secretary-general Yuri Khachaturov, who was charged over the summer by Armenian authorities for breaching the country’s constitutional order in connection to the March 1, 2008 post-election standoff between protesters and security officials that resulted in the deaths of eight civilians and two police officers.
“At the decision of the Collective Security Council of the CSTO, Y. Khachaturov is dismissed from the position of Secretary General of the organization,” the CSTO said on it website.
Deputy Secretary General Valeriy Semerikov has temporarily assumed the duties of Secretary General.
Khachaturov was not remanded to custody at the time he was charged and was released on bail with a note that he would return to Armenia to face the criminal charges.
Also charged with the same provision was former president Robert Kocharian, who was remanded and later released after a higher court overturned his remand ruling.
Khachaturov was to have held his post until 2021. With his dismissal, Armenia still has the right to appoint its candidate for the post, which is held by a member country on a rotating basis.
On Friday, Armenia’s Acting Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said that Yerevan has not made a clear decision on whether it would nominate a candidate for the post or not, but it has a roster of likely candidates.
“Armenia has candidates. Based on our assessment they can and will maintain the normal process of the organization’s secretariat. We are sure that we can implement this function if we were to decide to nominate a candidate. We have sufficient resource in Armenia to be able to have candidates,” he said, adding that he can’t get ahead of the processes and say if they will nominate a candidate or not.
Asked if Armenia will be able to maintain the right to nominate a candidate for CSTO Secretary General, Mnatsakanyan said that the issue is on the agenda. He said negotiations with member states of the organization have resumed and that “nothing is final yet”.
He emphasized that the decision must be acceptable for all six countries of the organization, stressing that Armenia’s primary interest is for the CSTO—as a collective security organization—to continue functioning effectively.
CSTO will convene its security council on November 8 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Mnatsakanyan and Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will attend the relevant sessions, where the Khachaturov’s replacement will be an agenda item.