Azerbaijan's participation in the CSTO depends on respect for its terms - Expert | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

22 September, Wednesday

Azerbaijan's participation in the CSTO depends on respect for its terms - Expert

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The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), established on the initiative of Russia. It has been operating for more than 27 years. It is a fact that Azerbaijan has been a member state to CSTO in 1993-1999. The main goal of the CSTO with currently its six members and two observers is to support the countries in the region that have economic and especially military problems. However, today the problems between many member states of this organisation remain unresolved.
 
According to news agencies, a meeting of the Council of the Parliamentary Assembly of the CSTO member states was held in Dushanbe last week and it was decided to establish an institute of partner countries in the bloc. The press service of the Russian State Duma said that the proposal was made by the speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin.
 
According to him, the CSTO partner countries will not have a decisive voice in its structures, but will have the right to participate in the preparation of documents and the development of collective decisions. According to Volodin, this will strengthen relations with "countries that share the principles of the bloc member states."
 
Volodin also said that a number of countries are interested in cooperation with the CSTO.
 
Leonid Kalashnikov, head of the State Duma's Committee on Eurasian Integration, said that the countries most interested in this format are Azerbaijan and Pakistan. According to Kalashnikov, "although it is not acceptable to talk about it," these countries have long expressed their desires to obtain observer status at the CSTO.
 
It should be noted that the issue of Azerbaijan's observer status in the CSTO has been raised many times before, but each time Irevan put an end to the issue, saying "we will use the right of veto." On the other hand, it is still unknown what the observer status in the CSTO can promise to Azerbaijan, and to what extent the influence of this organisation in general can play a role in solving problems.
 
Political expert Sadraddin Soltan has given an interview to Eurasia Diary on all these issues.
 
- First of all, what is the effectiveness, prestige and influence of the CSTO at the international level?
 
- As you know, the CSTO came into being after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In fact, this organisation is like imitating something. For example, I would say that the CIS resembles the collapsed USSR, and the CSTO resembles the Warsaw Pact. In doing so, Russia has in fact created a kind of military bloc in response to NATO, especially against the West. Apparently, the member countries of this organisation do not have such a serious conflict with the United States, Europe or NATO. Only because Moscow has conflicts with the West, Russia creates various political and military alliances with countries that are inclined to it and want to cooperate with it. That is why I think the CSTO is a very weak and toothless analogue of the Warsaw Pact.
 
As for the impact and effectiveness of the CSTO, I would say that the future of this organisation is not bright and promising. There are several compelling reasons, the most important of which are the incomplete relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, on the other hand, there are some contradictions between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as the lack of funds of the CSTO to provide financial support to its member states. Let me note that Azerbaijan also became a member of the CSTO for about six years, from 1993 to 1999. Despite this, Azerbaijan did not see any prospects for membership in the CSTO during those years. For example, NATO has a crucial role to play in its member states' territorial integrity and army building. The CSTO does not meet these requirements. I think the desire to become a member or observer of this organisation can only come from the intention to formally participate in political events. Other than that, it is not right to expect anything serious from this organisation.
 
- Allegedly, Azerbaijan and Pakistan aspire to become observer members of the CSTO. What can Azerbaijan's membership in this organisation or its observer status give us? Obviously, Azerbaijan is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 
- As you know, Pakistan has problems with India. However, Pakistan's relations with China are very normal. Therefore, I must say that Pakistan may want to join the CSTO not because of Russia, but because of China. When Pakistan was in a difficult situation during the conflict, it was China, not Russia, that helped it a lot. This can be understood as a step by China to show some kind of power in the region. Azerbaijan's desire to become an observer in the CSTO is based on the respect to Russia. This can only be formal. Because it is no secret that Azerbaijan has always participated in NATO programs, and at the same time, along with the tendency to integrate with the West, Azerbaijan is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 
In general, Russia is always putting pressure on countries close to it, and when the time comes, it either subjugates them or drags them down by ruining them. For example, Belarus is one of those countries. However, its neighbouring Baltic states are not members of the CSTO and do not follow Russia. Moreover, there is a big difference between the development of the Baltic states and Belarus. In short, membership in an organisation or political bloc created at the initiative of either the CSTO or Russia can mean neither a solution to the country's problems nor development. It's no more than just being on Russia's tail. In general, there is no need to create a CSTO or any other organisation if Azerbaijan, Armenia and other countries can resolve their own conflicts, including the normalisation of relations.
 
- As a member of the CSTO Armenia has repeatedly stated that it will use its veto against Azerbaijan's desire to join the organisation in any form. Can official Irevan withdraw from this remark? Could there be pressure from Russia?
 
- Armenia is just a figure. Although it officially has the status of a state, its management is completely in the hands of Russia. Azerbaijan will be able to resolve whatever happens not with Armenia, but only on the basis of Russia's decisions on Armenia. It is no secret that Russia is the owner of the region called Armenia. Russia is again the leading body of both the CSTO, the CIS and the Economic Development Union, and if Russia wants Azerbaijan to join the CSTO, other member states, including Armenia, cannot prevent it. Simply, Russia's intention of Azerbaijan's involvement in the CSTO is not sufficient. The Azerbaijani side must also have an intention for this. And this will depend on how conditions of Azerbaijan will be provided. The conditions are almost clear, and the most important of them is Armenia's attitude to Azerbaijan and its recognition of its territorial integrity.
 
Elnur Enveroglu

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