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Armenian PM Attacks Russian-Led Alliance At Summit In Yerevan

By RFE/RL's Armenian Service, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service November 23, 2022

YEREVAN -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has criticized the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for its refusal to support Armenia when it faced "Azerbaijan's aggression."

Speaking at a CSTO summit in Yerevan on November 23, Pashinian said his country had supported a fellow member, Kazakhstan, immediately in early January when President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev asked CSTO troops to enter his country following unprecedented anti-government protests that left at least 238 people, including 19 law enforcement officers, dead.

Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Russia comprise the CSTO, which was established in October 2002.

"Armenia is ending its chairmanship of the CSTO. Although it is an anniversary year [for the CSTO], for Armenia it was not an anniversary year at all. In the last two years, a CSTO member-state has been attacked by Azerbaijan at least three times, and actually, till now, we have not received any reaction from the CSTO regarding Azerbaijan's aggression, which is a big blow to the CSTO's image," Pashinian said.

Armenia says dozens of square kilometers of its sovereign territory were seized by Azerbaijan during the military conflict between the two countries in May 2021, in November 2021, and in September this year.

Hundreds of activists representing civil society and democratic institution rallied on November 23 in downtown Yerevan, demanding Armenia leave the CSTO immediately. Among the demonstrators were Ukrainian citizens who protested Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine launched in late February.

The leaders of the CSTO's member-states -- Vladimir Putin of Russia, Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus, Toqaev of Kazakhstan, Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyzstan, Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, and Pashinian -- met in the Armenian capital as Russia continued shelling Ukrainian towns and cities with missiles targeting the energy infrastructure.

It was announced at the summit that Kazakh politician Imanghali Tasmaghambetov will replace Belarusian politician Stanislau Zas as secretary-general of the CSTO.

The 65-year-old Tasmaghambetov, who is known for his loyalty to former President Nursultan Nazarbaev, has served as prime minister, deputy prime minister, mayor of the Kazakh capital, Astana, and largest city, Almaty.

His last official position was as ambassador to Russia, which he held before announcing his retirement in 2019.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/armenia-csto-pashinian- criticism/32145663.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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