Armenia retaliates against Kabul’s support to Azerbaijan

The Armenian National Assembly has officially applied to the Secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to revoke Afghanistan’s observer status after Kabul came out in support of Azerbaijan this week.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday expressed its concerns over the ongoing clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and said in a statement that the disputed territory has been recognized internationally as a part of Azerbaijan.

Afghanistan called for an end to clashes and said in the statement it “supports the efforts by the people and government of Azerbaijan and other nations of the world in this regard”.

Armenia state radio reported that “the Armenian National Assembly has officially applied to the Secretariat of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly to start the process of depriving Afghanistan of its observer status.”

“The request comes in response to the statements of Afghanistan supporting the Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression against Artsakh,” Armenia Radio quoted that Speaker of the National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan as having said.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a Russia-led military alliance of seven former Soviet states that was created in 2002. The CSTO’s purpose is to ensure the collective defence of any member that faces external aggression.

Current CSTO members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan. Afghanistan and Serbia hold observer status in the CSTO.

Majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan have come to blows periodically in their decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians.

On Sunday, clashes flared between the two countries and since then dozens of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured in the fighting, which has since spread to areas outside the enclave’s borders.

France, Russia and the United States have all now called for a ceasefire between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces but both sides have dismissed the demands for a truce in the disputed region, where fighting has escalated in recent days to levels not seen since the 1990s.

Speaking on Russian state television Tuesday, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan both rejected the possibility of talks.

Also this week, the United Nations Security Council called for an immediate end to the hostilities, as did a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the US State Department.