Citing Armenian government, media reports say Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will not participate in a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit that will take place in Belarus’s capital, Minsk, on November 23. 

Interfax quoted the Armenian government as stating, “Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko have had a phone call initiated by Belarus.  The Armenian prime minister informed the Belarusian president that he will be unable to take part in a CSTO Collective Security Council meeting, and said he expected his CSTO counterparts to treat this decision with understanding.”

Citing Ms. Natalya Eismont, a spokeswoman for the Belarusian head of state, Belarusian state-run news agency BelTA reports that Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has calmly accepted the refusal of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to participate in the CSTO session in Minsk. 

Aleksandr Lukashenko reportedly talked to Nikol Pashinyan over the phone on November 14. The parties discussed the situation in the Caucasus, the bilateral relations, and the agenda of the forthcoming CSTO summit.

Natalya Eismont added: “The president understands that it is up to any head of state to make such decisions.  The invitation was sent to the prime minister of Armenia just like to other heads of state.  For example, the Russian president was invited to attend the summit during a recent phone call.  He accepted the invitation.”

“Bearing in mind his experience and actions taken by some other prominent politicians in similar situations, the president suggested that the prime minister of Armenia should not hurry, should not make hasty decisions but should seriously think about the next steps, which may be aimed at disintegration,” the spokeswoman noted.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin is disappointed that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan decided not to take part in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit slated for November 23, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters yesterday.

“If this is true, then it’s disappointing.  We understand that all heads of government and state have their own work schedule and their own circumstances.  However, one can only express regret, because such meetings offer a good opportunity to exchange views and compare positions," the Kremlin spokesman noted, according to TASS.

He added, however, that the CSTO remained a relevant platform.  “The meetings that take place within the CSTO are further proof of that,” Peskov stressed.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

It is not the first time the Armenian leader has refused to attend integration events.  For example, he missed a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Bishkek in October.