CSTO incapable of playing role in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Russian experts

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) cannot play a role in resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Alexander Golts, a Russian military expert.

In an interview with Zhamanak, a local Armenian newspaper, Golts said it is nonsense to expect a significant involvement of the CSTO in the peaceful solution of Karabakh knot.

“There are periodical gossips in Moscow that the Russian diplomats are engaged in a secret diplomacy with Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, but these rumors have never been confirmed,” Golts noted.

Golts believes that inter-relations within the CSTO is quite brittle and resumption of hostilities around the Karabakh region is a catastrophe for Moscow.

“According to the CSTO charter, Moscow should stand for Armenia as s partner, but if we consider Armenia’s relations with Azerbaijan, then Russia cannot take risks to get engaged in a war with Azerbaijan. That’s why the only option is to prevent the belligerents from hostilities in all possible ways,” Golts said.

He added that during the recent meeting of CSTO, the participants discussed about preventive measures in the Central Asia region, which are not related to the South Caucasus.

Member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization called for a peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in a joint statement issued during their most recent gathering in Moscow on December 23.

The alliance underlined the importance of achieving a completion of the works on the basic principles of the conflict’s resolution.

Alexei Malashenko, an expert from the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow Fund, is doubtful on Russia’s role in the outbreak of hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Malashenko believes that neither the Russian military bases in Armenia’s territory, nor the CSTO could not play a significant role in the resumption of warfare between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

He also claimed that the Russian Federation authorities are doing their best at the diplomatic and non-military level, taking into account Russia’s interests in resolving the conflict.

“A war between Armenia and Azerbaijan will not see the involvement of the Russian armed forces,” Malashenko said.

Russian military experts Pavel Felgenhauer and Sergei Markov have earlier excluded any right of the CSTO to intervene in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying the alliance has no power to make a significant statement or take an important measure regarding the protracted conflict.