Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses parliament following an escalation in hostilities over the Nagorno-Karabakh region along the border of Armenia with Azerbaijan, in Yerevan, Armenia, September 13, 2022.

Iran’s Neighbor Armenia Shuns Russian Bloc, Explores New Alliances

Tuesday, 11/14/2023

The Armenian Prime Minister will not participate in the upcoming Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit this month in Minsk as the country distances itself from the alliance.

A statement said, "Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko have had a phone call initiated by Belarus. The Armenian prime minister informed the Belarusian president that he will be unable to take part in a CSTO Collective Security Council meeting, and said he expected his CSTO counterparts to treat this decision with understanding ."

CSTO is a post-Soviet collective security organization under Russia’s umbrella, with Armenia having been a founding loyal member since the 1990s. Yerevan’s security policy was shaped by its conflict with Azerbaijan and it maintained close cooperation with Russia and Iran as a way to safeguard its security.

However, Armenia was defeated in 2020, when Azerbaijan attacked to re-capture lost territories. Russia, CSTO, or Iran did not intervene to defend Armenia, which has turned to the USA and France for security support. Both nations are not only endorsing reforms within the Armenian Armed Forces but are also actively involved in arms sales and providing military equipment to bolster Armenia's defense capabilities.

Simultaneously, an important development is occurring in Armenia's relations with the European Union. The foreign ministers of the EU have granted approval for the expansion of the observation mission in Armenia, underscoring a deepening engagement.

Discussions on visa liberalization and military assistance to Armenia are poised to commence, following a decision made during the Foreign Affairs Council meeting. The council also addressed pivotal issues concerning Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, highlighting the complex geopolitical landscape in the region for the small nation bordering Iran.

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