ArmInfo.Azerbaijan's participation in the CSTO should be considered in the light of the new geopolitical conditions, Head of the Russian-Azerbaijani group of interparliamentary cooperation, Chairman of the committee on legal issues and state building of Milli Mejlis of Azerbaijan Ali Huseynli expressed such a view in the interview to Haqqin.az. He recalled that in the early 1990s at the stage of the formation of this structure, Azerbaijan joined the Collective Security Treaty, and left it at the end of the 1990s.
At the same time, the Azerbaijani MP believes that today the situation is radically different from the one that was in 1999 when Azerbaijan refused to extend the Collective Security Treaty. "Undoubtedly, the situation of the 1990s and the one that we observe today are radically different: in 2002, the decision was made to transform the CSTO into a full-fledged international organization, and now it is not worth considering the CSTO as an exclusively military bloc. It is an organization that beside military threats deals with security issues, countering international terrorism, illegal migration, cybercrime: Azerbaijan and Russia have established effective cooperation in recent years in the military-operational sector.Our country is a major importer of modern Russian weapons, and, unlike Armenia, pays for them cash on hand.This is a long-term cooperation, since, along the acquisition of new arms leads to the purchase of spare parts, the training of domestic specialists, and the possibility of concluding new multibillion-dollar contracts for the acquisition of modern military equipment, "Huseynli said.
At the same time, the MP believes that the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains a threat to regional security and a deterrent to the further development of both the South Caucasus region itself and interregional, including Azerbaijani-Russian relations. "There is a paradoxical situation: Armenia is officially an ally of Russia in the CSTO, and these allied relations impose certain obligations on Russia, but its" ally "more and more openly demonstrates its pro-Western orientation and even its interest in strengthening NATO cooperation. Azerbaijan in turn is Russia's actual ally, however formally it does not have this status, which places it in an unequal position with Armenia .In case of Azerbaijan joining the CSTO, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will turn for Russia into a conflict between the two partners in one organization, which will give it grounds for activating its mediation efforts to resolve it, and besides, the countries that are unconditionally supporting the principle of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and demand de-occupation of our lands are also members of the CSTO. Thus, there will be more opportunities to regain Azerbaijan's control over the lands of our border with Iran - Zangilan (Zangezur is a historical region in the southeast of Armenia, on the flanks of Zangezur range - ed. note), Jebrail, Fizuli, " Huseynli assured.
According to him along with these factors which are undoubtedly key ones, membership in CSTO also offers economic benefits, such as beneficial prices on purchase of weapons from member countries as well as training of military specialists in leading educational institutions of CSTO member countries. Huseynli believes that the idea of Azerbaijan's joining CSTO is worth consideration.
The Azerbaijani MP is also convinced that there is no reason to believe that cooperation in the CSTO is a threat to the sovereignty of Azerbaijan. "Have such friendly countries like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Belarus lost their sovereignty during many years of membership in this organization? On the contrary, they only strengthened their independence, so this argument has no serious grounds. That is why I think that taking into account nowadays realities, a new geopolitical situation, the leading position of Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus and the growing military power of our country, it would be reasonable to consider the issue of our participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). We already closely cooperate with Russia in military sector. We also have friendly relations with other countries of the CSTO, except, of course, Armenia, and established cooperation in the field of security. And in this light, the presence in this organization will enable us not only to observe but also to influence the processes in CSTO. One should also take into account the fact that any country can leave this organization at any time, and decisions are taken by consensus, so I do not see any serious threats to our country's participation in the CSTO. In addition, the first step can be obtaining status of the observer state in this organization, "the MP concluded.
To note, Armenia has repeatedly opposed Azerbaijan's membership in CSTO.