Collective security organization has no 'clear position' on Karabakh


Collective security organization has no 'clear position' on Karabakh

Эксперты МГИМО: Никитина Юлия Александровна, к.полит.н.

News. Az interviews Dr Yulia Nikitina, research fellow at the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations' Centre for Post-Soviet Studies.

The Armenian defence minister said recently that Yerevan hoped for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the event of a new war with Azerbaijan over Karabakh. CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha commented that «Armenia is an active member of the CSTO with all the consequences this entails. Armenia has commitments before the organization, just as its other members have assumed responsibilities before Armenia." What does this mean?

The secretary general has been facing constant questions about CSTO intervention, but for many years now has been giving vague answers which imply that the CSTO, as an organization, does not have a clear position on this issue and the decision about a possible intervention would be passed by the heads of state, with respect to the current situation in the region and the world.

There are grounds to suggest that Armenia’s willingness to involve the CSTO in the conflict would probably not be supported by other members of the organization since it would concern not a mythical common enemy, but another member of the Commonwealth of Independent States which is also a strategic partner for some — Azerbaijan. What can you say about it?

Indeed, earlier all decisions in the CSTO had to be passed through consensus. However, at the CSTO summit in December 2010, it was decided that in the event of arguable situations the CSTO can skip the principle of mandatory consensus in passing decisions, since the organization is shifting to a CIS-type scheme, under which votes are cast solely by the member states concerned.

This scheme was introduced after the Kyrgyz events, when Belarus was against intervention. And overall, the interest of Belarus and Armenia in the role of the organization in the Central Asian region is quite low. In turn, the Central Asian countries are unlikely to want to take part in possible operations by the organization to settle the Karabakh situation. However, it does not mean that skipping the principle of mandatory consensus will ease CSTO intervention in conflicts. If allies in the organization are against intervention, potential action will probably involve Russia and Armenia.

Baku’s position on the situation is well-known: the CSTO has no right to intervene in a war for Karabakh, for in this case Azerbaijan will be fighting to restore its territorial integrity within UN-recognized borders, not attacking Armenia. Does this situation fall under the terms for military mutual assistance among CSTO members?

The main problem is what should be considered the territory of Armenia since, according to the Collective Security Treaty, only aggression on the territory of a signatory state is considered a case for collective defence. I think that in the event of a potential conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, a decision would be taken on the basis of the political state of affairs and not only legal documents. As we know, in international law there are many contradictory points, such as for example the principle of territorial integrity and the right of nations to self-determination so states often interpret the law according to political necessity and their national interests.

Some experts in Baku sometimes say that Azerbaijan’s membership of the CSTO would bring more benefit than the current official position of the country that co-existence in the same military bloc as the occupier is impossible. What do you think about it?

After the end of the cold war most regional organizations switched their functions from mostly collective defence to providing collective security. Regional organizations position themselves as security communities which means that they have a shared identity and common values, and solve all conflicts within the community by peaceful means. Institutionalized cooperation helps to restore trust even between former foes. Let me remind you that the European Union was originally created to make eternal enemies France and Germany coexist in peace.

And now we can see that it was a success, so maybe Azerbaijan’s accession to the CSTO would help to start at least some relations at the grass-roots level, for example in the sphere of combating illegal migration or drug trafficking. And such cooperation could help to overcome the existing stalemate. We know that there are also problems in relations between Central Asian countries and the internal function of the CSTO is to bring them together and help to find a compromise on issues of military cooperation.


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Источник: News.Az
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