Armenian agency sees NATO as more reliable partner than CIS security

Armenian agency sees NATO as more reliable partner than CIS security body

Mediamax news agency, Yerevan
21 Jun 04

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) “calmly and
positively reacts” to its members’ cooperation with NATO, Armenian
President Robert Kocharyan said in Astana on 18 June. He noted that a
document was adopted on the main directions of CSTO-NATO cooperation
at the last CSTO Council meeting held in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Robert Kocharyan pointed out that specific mechanisms for the
realization of CSTO-NATO cooperation had been fixed in the
document. However, there is every ground to assume that this
cooperation will remain only a good intention as it has always been.

Such a state of affairs is first of all conditioned by the fact that
all the CSTO member-states (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Russia and Tajikistan) differently perceive the aims and the tasks
of this military-political union.

[Passage omitted: quotes different officials]

The CSTO’s fundamental problem is that its members are not adherents of
common values, as for instances, NATO member-states. The main factor
that unites the countries into the CSTO is their good relations with
Russia. Thus, there forms not quite a normal situation when the main
task of CSTO membership becomes the demonstration of loyalty to Russia
and not the readiness to jointly oppose new threats.

Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in
Washington DC last week, Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan
again noted that Armenia was going to sign an Individual Partnership
Action Plan with NATO this year. At the same time, Oskanyan pointed
out that Armenia was going to develop cooperation with the alliance at
the same pace like Georgia and Azerbaijan, with the aim of preventing
the formation of new separation lines in the region.

Thus, we witness a situation when the three South Caucasus countries –
Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan – are working on Individual Partnership
Action Plans with NATO and only one of them – Armenia – is a CSTO
member. This is the best evidence that when it comes to the provision
of security in a long-term perspective all the three countries of the
region make a choice in favour of NATO irrespective of the serious
contradictions existing among them.

Last May, CSTO Council Secretary-General Nikolay Bordyuzha said that
“in case NATO expands its infrastructure to the borders of CSTO
member-states, including Russia, we shall have the right to take
preventive measures”. As everybody knows, NATO has expanded but the
CSTO has not taken any “preventive measures”. If CSTO member-states
really want to cooperate with NATO to resist the threats of terrorism
and other challenges, they should in the first place prove the
competence and viability of their organization and stop pretending
that they are playing the role of a new Warsaw Treaty Organization.