The Collective Security Treaty Organization is ready to implement its plan for deploying a mission to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin said.
“We confirm our readiness regarding the implementation of the plans to deploy a CSTO mission to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border pursuant to the interests of ensuring Armenia’s security, as well as other support programs stipulated in the respective draft decision of the CSTO on providing assistance to the republic. We are ready for this work as much as Armenia,” Galuzin said during an interview with RTVI.
The Armenian government and the Russia-led security bloc have been at odds since, according to Yerevan, the CSTO did not immediately dispatch assistance when Azerbaijani forces invaded Armenia in September. Later in November, during a CSTO summit in Yerevan, the other member-states were unwilling to properly condemn Baku for its aggressive actions, furthering the rift.
Some statements from Armenian government officials, especially Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, have sparked talks of whether Armenia would be exiting the CSTO. The European Union has deployed a 100-person, two-year mission along the Armenian border and has come under criticism by Russia, which is accusing the EU and the West of interfering in regional issues.
Galuzin’s interview was seen as an attempt by Russia to quell the tensions. He said that Russia anticipated that “all partnership issues with Yerevan within the CSTO, including the deployment of a monitoring mission in the territory of Armenia, to be resolved in a constructive and mutually beneficial manner.”
“We are openly discussing all concerns of the Armenian side within the formats of the existing partnership in CSTO, from the Permanent Council meetings up to the Collectively Security Council, the highest body of the organization,” Galuzin said.
Galuzin said that there are “difficulties” within the CSTO, noting that such difficulties exist in every international organization that is carrying out “real work based on the interests of all members.”
He went on to praise Armenia for its leadership when it held the CSTO’s chairmanship last year.
“Due to Armenia’s chairmanship [in the CSTO] a lot has been done for the development of the CSTO’s capabilities in repelling the challenges and threats to our collective security. I would like to emphasize that the results we have now would not have been possible without the coordinated, effective and eager work of all member states,” Galuzin said.
He said the strengthening cooperation within the CSTO was discussed when the Armenian and Russian foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Sergey Lavrov, met in Moscow on March 20. Those matters, Galuzin said, were also reinforces when the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov visited Yerevan earlier this month.