YEREVAN—Armenia will exercise its right to veto in the event of Azerbaijan’s application to join the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union, said Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan during Tuesday’s press briefing.
“Such discussions actually are taking place within analytical circles, but those discussions—and circles—are happening and are based on intelligence. I will express the official position of Armenia’s foreign ministry. If such an issue is brought up, Armenia will use its right to veto,” she Naghdalyan.
Explaining that issues of membership and participation in the two organizations are made through consensus of member-states, Naghdalyan stressed that official Yerevan has clearly conveyed its position in order to avoid double standards. She also said that Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan has clearly conveyed this position during discussions about future CSTO and EEU expansion.
Armenia’s role in the CSTO has been come front and center since Armenia’s Prosecutor General last month charged its current secretary-general Yuri Khachaturov of breaching Armenia’s constitutional order when he was Armenia’s deputy defense minister. The charges are related to post-election protests, which resulted in the deaths of eight civilians and two police officers during a standoff on March 1, 2008. Khachaturov was released on bail and allowed to return to Moscow to continue his duties as head of the Russia-led military alliance.
Armenia began the application process to replace Khachaturov, however the criminal proceedings against him did not sit well with Moscow, prompting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to tersely criticize Yerevan for what he called “political” trials.
Naghdalyan also briefed reporters on the ongoing process to replace Khachaturov saying that a number of meetings with various players in the organization at all levels have been held, “in accordance with the existing rules of procedures aimed at finding consensus solutions.”
Naghdalyan explained that based on earlier decisions, Armenia will retain the leadership of the CSTO until 2020, hence efforts are underway to propose a suitable replacement for Khachaturov.
On another note, Naghdalyan reported that the foreign ministry was preparing concrete proposals and programs for the advancement of relations between Armenia and the European Union, following last week’s visit to Yerevan by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
She explained that certain agreements were reached during meetings and discussions with Merkel, among them pursuing a visa-free regime between the EU and Armenia.