Yerevan /Mediamax/. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan delivered an extensive speech at the CSTO Collective Security Council session held in Yerevan on November 23.
Below are some excerpts from the speech.
“Azerbaijan’s repeated aggression, and in particular the fact that we have not been able to make a decision regarding CSTO’s response to the mentioned aggression, raises fundamental questions that are extremely important both for the CSTO and for the image of the organization in the eyes of the Armenian society.
The confirmation of the CSTO zone of responsibility in the Republic of Armenia is of fundamental importance for us. The existence of such a formulation may seem strange in itself, but after analyzing our recent discussions, we have come to the conclusion that this is extremely important.
Our position is as follows: according to the Alma-Ata Declaration of December 21, 1991, the CIS founding countries, as independent states, recognized each other's territorial integrity and the inviolability of existing borders. This means that the above-mentioned countries became independent with the administrative borders that existed between the republics during the years of the Soviet Union. In other words, the former administrative borders became state borders, and the territories of the above-mentioned countries were determined by these borders. It is with these borders that the Republic of Armenia became a member of the United Nations and the CSTO.
Since May 11, 2021, Azerbaijan used armed forces three times and occupied about 140 square kilometers of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. This happened on May 11, 2021, November 14, 2021 and September 13, 2022.
Thus, according to UN Resolution No. 3314 of December 14, 1974, the mentioned actions of Azerbaijan are considered aggression.
What do we expect from the CSTO in this regard? The recording of this fact in the form of a clearly formulated political assessment. Refraining from such an assessment, saying that there is no border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, means claiming that there is no zone of responsibility of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and if there is no zone of responsibility, then there is no organization. At least, this is how it can be interpreted.”
“I would like to respond to the comments according to which Armenia is trying to push the CSTO countries into a war with Azerbaijan. This is a simple speculation, because Armenia cannot be interested in war, at least only because it has suffered enough from wars, including the one in September of this year.
The political assessment of the above events is necessary first of all from a moral point of view, because it should be a logical manifestation of allied relations. Of course, this is also important from the point of view of restoring the territorial integrity of our country, but this desire in itself does not mean military intervention. According to Article 3 of the CSTO Charter, priority is given to political measures when it comes to collectively protecting the territorial integrity of the member states.”
Violations of the trilateral statement and the peacekeepers
“On November 9, 2020, with the efforts of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, the trilateral declaration of the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan was adopted, which was followed by many documents, statements, comments on the need to observe all points of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020.
This obviously means that not all points of the trilateral declaration are being observed, but no one speaks about who and which side is not fulfilling those points and agreements.
Violating the ceasefire and the cessation of all military operations, as well as the above-mentioned agreement that the parties should stop at their positions, already in 2020 Azerbaijan illegally occupied Khtsaberd and Hin Tagher settlements of Nagorno Karabakh, as well as their adjacent territories.
Azerbaijan carried out a similar occupation in in March, 2022, breaking the line of contact and invading the zone of responsibility of the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the direction of Parukh village. Azerbaijan violates the ceasefire regime almost every day, including on the contact line.
It should be noted that during the occupation of Khtsaberd village in the presence of Russian peacekeepers, Azerbaijan captured 66 Armenian soldiers, which also happened in the presence of Russian peacekeepers. In other words, both of these actions took place in the presence of Russian peacekeepers.”
Claims about “corridor”
“The president of Azerbaijan constantly insists that some type of corridor should be created through the territory of Armenia and accuses Armenia of not fulfilling the above-mentioned point. I specifically quoted paragraph 9 of the trilateral declaration to show the obvious: there is no word “corridor” there, nothing is said about a corridor.
The accusations against Armenia regarding the violation of point 9 of the declaration of November 9, 2020 are completely groundless. In this matter, Armenia has only one obligation, to provide a transport connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, while no specific route is mentioned in the November 9 declaration or any other statement.
The Republic of Armenia has always been ready and is still ready to provide such communication, and for this purpose, the draft decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia on establishing checkpoints on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has been put into circulation, and as a result of this decision, Azerbaijan can get a connection with the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan through the roads of Armenia. This decision is not made only for one reason: Azerbaijan does not want this route.
As for the construction of new roads, the Republic of Armenia has no such obligations according to the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020 or any other statement or document. Point 9 of the declaration provides for such a possibility in case of a consent between the Parties. And the Republic of Armenia is ready to give its consent. And the agreement did not take place only for one reason: Azerbaijan continues its aggressive rhetoric and actions contrary to the reached agreements and signed statements. Let me be specific: it is the rhetoric about the corridor, you know about it. Unfortunately, some of our partners are also somehow misled or subjected to provocation, and sometimes they agree to accept documents where such a wording is used.
There is no Armenian army in Nagorno-Karabakh
“The president of Azerbaijan also accuses Armenia of the fact that our army is in Nagorno-Karabakh. I would like to emphasize once again that there is no Armenian army in Nagorno Karabakh, there is a Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army. In my understanding, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have an army only and only because of the danger of being subjected to genocide.
At the same time, during the trilateral meeting held in Sochi on October 31, I presented the proposal of the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities on this topic: to create a demilitarized zone around Nagorno-Karabakh with international guarantees, as a result of which Nagorno-Karabakh may not need a defense army of such a scale.”