In a significant shift from routine proceedings, the Armenian delegation has declared its non-participation in the upcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This decision, announced by the press secretary of the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, not only underscores a conspicuous absence but also throws light on potential internal discord within the CSTO.
Armenia's Unanticipated Absence
The CSTO, a military alliance in Eurasia, includes Armenia as a key member alongside Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Armenia's decision to abstain from the session introduces a ripple of uncertainty in the otherwise cohesive organization. The question that arises is whether this absence is a symptom of underlying disagreements or tensions within the CSTO or with specific member states.
Unraveling the Implications
This not the first time Armenia has stepped away from CSTO proceedings. The recent summit held in Minsk on November 23rd, dedicated to discussing urgent problems of international and regional security, was marked by the absence of a representative from Armenia. The summit, hosted by Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, was attended by the heads of Belarus, Russia, Kygyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced his disappointment over Armenia's decision to skip the summit, raising concerns over potential withdrawal from the alliance.
Is Armenia Distancing from the CSTO?
Despite these indications, Armenia has clarified its stance on the matter. Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Mnatsakan Safarian has stated that the country is not considering quitting the CSTO. In addition, Armenia has no intention of raising the issue of the withdrawal of Russia's military base in the northwestern Armenian town of Gyumri. This decision to abstain from the assembly, however, does highlight a growing rift between Yerevan and Moscow.
As the CSTO prepares for the upcoming meeting in Moscow on December 19, the absence of the Armenian delegation is unmistakable. This decision, following in the wake of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's absence from the November meeting of the CSTO leaders, amplifies the sense of discord within the organization. As the dynamics within the CSTO continue to evolve, the global audience awaits to see how this situation unfolds and its implications for regional security and diplomatic relations.