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Armenia should realize CSTO is not panacea from all problems with neighbors: Trend News commentator

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 24 December 2009 18:51 (UTC +04:00)
The recent often statements of the Armenian side about the unconditional protection of the Collective Security Treaty Organization from all possible actions in Nagorno-Karabakh have caused, at least, surprise.
Armenia should realize CSTO is not panacea from all problems with neighbors: Trend News commentator

Trend European Desk Commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva

The recent often statements of the Armenian side about the unconditional protection of the Collective Security Treaty Organization from all possible actions in Nagorno-Karabakh have caused, at least, surprise.

Under the union contract with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, in case of military actions against Armenia, the Collective Security Treaty Organization is obliged to render military assistance to Yerevan, Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian told Yerevan's "Azg" newspaper.

"This is the answer to the question whether the CSTO will help us or not in the war with Azerbaijan, because we are members of this organization as opposed to Azerbaijan," the minister said.

Nobody would argue that in case of an act of aggression against Armenia, which is the CSTO member-country, the CSTO has the right to render the necessary assistance, including military one under the right to collective defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter .

However, it seems, the Armenian side misses one important point: the military operations do not envisage Azerbaijan's attack on Armenia because Nagorno-Karabakh is not Armenia, but de jure territory belonging to Azerbaijan. This fact can not be interpreted to meet one's interests, because there is no country in the world that would recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh and call the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in question.

Yerevan must understand that the entry of Armenia to the Organization of Collective Security Treaty does not guarantee that members of the organization will assist Yerevan in case of a military invasion of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh. Legally, the CSTO is not simply entitled to do it, because Nagorno-Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan. It does not belong to any of the CSTO member countries. But Baku is not going to announce the war to a member of the CSTO - Armenia, for which the rest of the CSTO member-countries could protect.

Armenia took upon themselves obligations to protect Nagorno-Karabakh. But up until today they have no received any international recognition of independence. Indirectly the organization itself has attempted to clarify this issue.

First, the Armenians should think that the CSTO has already rejected the intention of its participation even in a peacekeeping operation in the Karabakh conflict zone.

The CSTO stressed that the Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan's territory.

"Azerbaijan is not included in the Collective Security Treaty Organization. We can not enter our troops in Azerbaijan's territory without its consent. Our charter clearly stressed that the CSTO has no right to conduct any military operations in one country's territory which is not the CSTO member without its consent", the CSTO press-service said in July 2009.

If Yerevan hopes for the CSTO's interference on the scenario of events in Tskhinvali in 2008, when Russia entered its troops into the territory of Georgia, a big question will occur. Is it possible to compare the relations between Tbilisi and Moscow in August 2008 with the relations between Baku and six CSTO member-states, except Armenia?

If Armenia, on behalf of the Nagorno Karabakh, applies to the Collective Security Treaty Organization with a request on interference, the CSTO member-countries are unlikely to ignore friendly relations with Azerbaijan. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Uzbekistan are countries that traditionally consider Azerbaijan the main partner and ally in the South Caucasus.

As to Armenia's main hope - Russia, the alarming bell for Yerevan was that after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's statement in November 2009 about the possibility to solve the long-standing territorial dispute militarily, there was no official comment from Russia.

One should think whether the scenario of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war of early 1990 can repeat, and whether the influence of Russia in this war will be decisive now. Probably, no! If Armenia does not ignore many signals to establish a warm partnership and strategic relationship between Russia and Azerbaijan, it will not cherish false hopes.

With regard to bilateral agreements between Russia and Armenia, Russia's border guards are obliged to protect only the external borders of Armenia, that is, the borders of Armenia within the former Soviet Union with Turkey and Iran.

In such a situation, it is impossible to expect for Russian military men to deploy on the border with Azerbaijan, even if there is a threat of further aggression against Armenia.

Armenia's final hopes for the CSTO was that the Russian President, as commander-in-chief, is entitled to personally decide where to enter its troops under the new amendments to the law "Defense".

President Dmitry Medvedev became the initiator of the amendments.

Russia's legislators gave him these powers.

Taking into account all the above-mentioned, Armenia should not rely on the CSTO's and Russia's help in case of military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia should search for diplomatic compromises in resolving the problems with its neighbors.

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