The security council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization—CSTO—held an emergency meeting on Tuesday when Armenia, a member state, appealed to the body to intervene after Azerbaijani forces launched a large-scale attack and breached Armenia’s sovereign borders.
During the virtual meeting, the CSTO body proposed to create a working group, which will be tasked to assess the current situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and develop proposals to curtail the escalation, the BelTA news agency in Belarus reported.
The news agency reported that one of the proposals emanating from the meeting was the possibility of dispatching CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas to the region for him to report, first-hand, about the realities on the ground to heads of member-states, and the formation of a working group from the CSTO Secretariat and the Joint Staff for analyzing the situation and developing proposals.
Members of the CSTO Permanent Council expressed deep concern over the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and discussed proposals on the possible launch of CSTO mechanisms for resolving the situation, the CSTO Secretariat said in a statement.
The CSTO Secretariat leadership and the Chief of the Joint Staff Colonel-General Anatoly Sidorov participated in the emergency session of the permanent council initiated by Armenia.
Armenia’s Permanent Representative at the CSTO Viktor Biyagov briefed the council on the developments at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and notified about the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s application.
At least 49 Armenian troops were killed and three civilians were wounded when Azerbaijan launched a major attack in several directions against Armenia shortly after midnight on Tuesday. Both military and civilian infrastructure were hit. In some directions the Azeri troops continue attempts to advance.
Biyagov pointed called the attack aggressive and said that Azerbaijan grossly violated Armenia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Armenia’s CSTO representative noted that Armenia has appealed to its allies in the CSTO, expecting effective collective steps to ensure the security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia within the framework of the CSTO Charter. He expressed confidence that CSTO mechanisms are capable of restraining the aggressor.
In response to Armenia’s request, the CSTO announced on Tuesday that his has initiated the process of launching CSTO mechanisms for resolving “the situation” at Armenia’s border, a statement by the organization read.
After Azerbaijan launched a large-scale attack on settlements in the Gegharkunik, Syunik and Vayots Dzor provinces on Tuesday that killed 49 military personnel, Armenia asked the CSTO to intervene.
“On the night of September 13, 2022 heavy fighting took place between Armenia and Azerbaijan with the use of heavy armaments and UAVs, which resulted in deaths and injuries,” said the CSTO in an statement ahead of convening the emergency session of its security council
“We find the use of force to be inadmissible. Only political-diplomatic methods must be used for resolving disputes, and agreements enshrined in the 2020 November 9, 2021 January 11 and November 26 statements of the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia,” added the announcement.
“We highly appreciate Russia’s mediation efforts in preserving the ceasefire in the line of contact from beginning at 9 a.m. (local time) on September 13,” the CSTO said in a statement.
During a speech at parliament on Tuesday morning, Pashinyan told lawmakers that after an emergency session of Armenia’s Security Council, the appeal to the CSTO was sent.
“On the occasion of this appeal a permanent council session is now underway at the CSTO. We’ve also appealed to Russia based on the 1997 Treaty of friendship and mutual help. And we have decided to appeal to the UN Security Council so that the situation is urgently discussed,” Pashinyan told lawmakers.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan held telephone conversations with the CSTO’s deputy secretary-general Valeriy Semerikov, as well as Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, informing them of the official appeal.
This is not the first time Armenia, as a member-state, is appealing to the CSTO. In May 2021, when Azerbaijani forces breached Armenia’s borders and advanced their positions in Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces, Armenia called on the organization to use its charter to assist Armenia. A similar appeal was made during the 44-Day War. In both instances, the CSTO advocated for diplomatic negotiations to arrive at a resolution.
Yet, in January Armenia sent troops to Kazakhstan as part of a CSTO mission to quell what was an internal unrest sparked by opposition demonstrations against the government. Kazakhstan’s president’s appeal for assistance by the CSTO was reviewed and approved within 24 hours.