YEREVAN, AUGUST 10, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan received Stanislav Zas, the Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, ARMENPRESS was informed from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the visit of Mr. Zas to Armenia and said, ‘’We highly value our membership to the CSTO. The CSTO is one of the key elements of Armenia’s security system, which has a broad zone of responsibility. Unfortunately, tensions rise in quite many places. And it’s also for this reason that we are seriously preparing for our chairmanship over the Organization, which is related not only with the security challenges that have emerged in the recent period in the Republic of Armenia, but in the broader sense.
I think we have to overcome the challenges that have emerged in the responsibility zone of the CSTO with honor and solve all the problems. Of course, I want to focus on the following. The CSTO is first of all an organization which solves problems through political methods. Of course, it’s a military-political organization, but first of all it’s necessary to make all possible efforts to solve the situations, disagreements and challenges that emerge in the CSTO responsibility zone with political methods, which is also envisaged by the Charter and other normative documents. And I think that the Organization has vast opportunities to solve the existing problems through political methods. It’s necessary that the Organization and we demonstrate some resoluteness towards those issues. Of course, there are situations where very concrete mechanisms of actions are provided.
You know that, unfortunately, it’s already 2-3 months that a crisis situation exists on the Armenian borders, which poses concrete threat to the security of the Republic of Armenia. Unfortunately, the armed forces of Azerbaijan are positioned in our territory for already a few months. Of course, there have been many discussions over the CSTO response to that situation. I have to say that, in fact, for the first time we encounter such a situation at the CSTO and we have to examine the situation very attentively, so as we can raise the effectiveness of the CSTO mechanisms in the future. I think that your visit is very important also from this perspective. In this context, we take our chairmanship very seriously and we are preparing for it.
In this situation it’s important for us to find the political solution to the existing issues, and there are all the opportunities for that. It’s necessary to appropriately apply the mechanisms existing in the CSTO.
On the other hand, I have to say that the position of the Republic of Armenia on the regional agenda is constructive. The Republic of Armenia, undoubtedly, is committed to the implementation of the agreements provided by the statements of November 9 and January 11. It’s very important for us to create necessary conditions and reach concrete solutions in terms of opening the regional communications. It’s very important for us to really start border demarcation and delimitation with Azerbaijan. Of course, it’s necessary to create concrete conditions for that. I hope and I am confident that there are really opportunities to solve this crisis situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, at the Sotk-Khoznavar section, through political methods. I expect that we will be able to reach concrete solutions in the sidelines of the CSTO, particularly, in terms of the monitoring of the situation. This is the issue for which it’s necessary to make concrete decisions and work for concrete mechanisms’’. The PM added that they have many topics to discuss and expressed confidence that it will be possible to discuss all the issues and make concrete conclusions.
CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas said, ‘’Dear Nikol Vovaevich, I am sincerely happy to see you. Our last meeting took place in last year in February. Frankly speaking, I have the feeling that it was another life, so many developments took place during this 1.5 years: the pandemic started 1.5 weeks after that meeting, lockdown was declared, and afterwards the challenges that Armenia had to pass through – war, casualties. At that time we could not even imagine what was expecting us in the future, such harsh challenges, depression among the public. The latest development in the social-political life of Armenia was the parliamentary election, and taking the opportunity, I want to congratulate you on the occasion of the victory in the elections. Of course, we were monitoring with worry, there was a tough political struggle, but thank God everything went peacefully, there are no suspicions, which is very important. It’s important in terms of building normal life in the country and I am very glad that life begins to normalize, the mood of the people starts to change.
It seems that the right decision was made: to break the situation with the elections, to give people a chance to express themselves. I am glad that the economy is alive and develops. So there are the two necessary conditions for the country to develop.
Of course, there are problems and you were right to note that the problems are not only here. We also discuss the problems in other directions in the CSTO, which are ins the zone of responsibility of the CSTO. The situation has not improved during this one year. It’s also the Afghan direction, Tajikistan-Afghanistan, you know what’s going on there. Unfortunately, the process of withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan is completed. The situation has started to deteriorate sharply and very quickly. No one could expect this. There were cases of border crossing by both the servicemen and refugees, this is not of a large-scale so far, the situation is under the control of the border guards and servicemen of Tajikistan, but there are very serious concerns over that region.
You remember the conflict on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border. Unfortunately, there were victims, dozens of people, including children. Thank God, it was possible to solve the situation there due to the efforts of the two Presidents, but we still have tense situation there. There are controversial issues over enclaves, which lead to tensions and clashes.
I cannot say that the situation has notably improved in the western direction, in Belarus. The situation has stabilized, but there is public and political crisis. Pressure against the authorities from the West is intensifying, and today the USA declared about exerting serious sanctions.
Of course, all these have a negative impact on our countries. You already mentioned the problems that cause this situation in the Caucasian region. You focused on the crisis situation on the border. Today I was there, visited motorized rifle regiment and its units. To be frank, I can see that in fact, there is no border, it’s a contact line of armed clashes, line of resistance, and periodically clashes, shootings flare up. Of course, it should not be like that. It’s necessary to do everything so that everyone has his line for overcoming the situation, this crisis.
I know that you are currently developing a government action plan, I do not try to give advice, but I think it should be one of the priority, global tasks of the government to overcome this crisis for ensuring border security, so as to enable our children to live in security, within that border, not on the line of military conflict.
I am confident that with such maturity and experience, you will solve it through diplomatic and political means. There have been enough victims and wars, it’s necessary to do everything to solve issues peacefully. I am confident we will be able to do that. We discussed this issue for quite a long period, including at the level of Foreign Ministers in May, and there is a general understanding that it’s necessary to do everything so as the sides sit around the negotiation table and solve the problem’’.
The interlocutors discussed the possibilities of resolving the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border through peaceful negotiations, the priorities of the Armenian chairmanship over the CSTO, steps to ensure security in the CSTO zone of responsibility, as well as issues related to improving and raising the efficiency of the Organization.