Russia said that dates for deploying peacekeepers from the Collective Security Treaty Organization to Armenia must be decided by the Yerevan authorities, as the group is prepared to send the mission.
“The ball is in Yerevan’s court,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Wednesday at a press briefing.
Zakharova cited a recent statement by Russia’s Foreign Sergey Lavrov who said that Russia is satisfied with Armenia’s continued interest in receiving CSTO peacekeepers. “Moscow is convinced that this step will contribute to the stabilization of the situation in the region. Both Russia and other allies are ready for it,” said the spokesperson.
“Such decisions are coordinated and adopted in the CSTO and approved at a high level. When our Armenian partners are ready, the parties will be able to return to the work of strengthening the specific types of the observation mission of the organization,” Zakharova explained.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said during a joint press conference with Lavrov in Moscow on March 20 that the draft decision to send a CSTO mission is on the table, and work on the draft continues. At the same time, Yerevan said that it expects a political assessment from its partners regarding Azerbaijan’s September aggression.
A senior CSTO official said that the organization is “always ready” to deploy a mission to Armenia.
“The organization is always ready to send a CSTO mission to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border pursuant to the interests of ensuring Armenia’s security, as well as to provide other assistance,” a representative of the group’s Yuri Shuvalov said on Friday after a joint meeting of the CSTO Secretariat and Joint Staff, Tass reported.
The assistance mechanisms are included in the CSTO Collective Security Council’s draft decision, which is pending, he added.
Meanwhile, the CSTO Secretary-General Imangali Tasmagambetov, who visited Armenia last month, has warned of a “risk of destabilization” stemming from the tense situation in Nagorno Karabakh.
Tasmagambetov said that the situation in Nagorno Karabakh and Afghanistan remains tense and creates “risk of destabilization” in the CSTO countries.
“The tension in the Caucasus region persists as a result of the many years of disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Interfax news agency quoted Tasmagambetov as saying.
He warned of a serious risk of destabilization because of the risks relating to the situation in Nagorno Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
“The situation in the Central Asian region is also tense, the threat of infiltration of extremist ideology and terrorist groups into the territory of CSTO allies is growing. The difficult threats coming from the territory of Afghanistan are especially concerning,” he said, adding that the organization is working to perfect its mechanisms of withstanding challenges and threats.