By Astghik Bedevian
YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Sparking a further backlash in Armenia, a senior Russian lawmaker has claimed this week that the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan “does not fall within the competence of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).”
In a November 21 interview with the Moscow-based weekly newspaper Argumenty i Fakty published ahead of the CSTO summit in Yerevan, which is due on November 23, Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Federation, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said: “Each of the CSTO member countries determines its attitude towards this conflict independently.”
Senator Kosachev said that Russia was “most sincerely” involved in efforts to promote a settlement. “And our efforts are equally wanted by both sides. It can’t be otherwise. The situation can develop only in this way. To take the position of supporting only one side in this conflict would mean to aggravate it. It is necessary to take the position of a peaceful settlement and help ensure that the terms of this settlement are acceptable to all parties,” Kosachev said.
At the same time, the Russian politician argued that Turkey was making a mistake by supporting Baku in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
Leaders of the CSTO, a Russia-led defense alliance of six post-Soviet nations, including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are to meet in Yerevan for an annual summit to discuss current issues of the organization in which the rotating presidency is passing from Armenia on to Belarus.