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Armenia 'May Lose Post' On Russian-Led Defense Group


Yury Khachaturov, former head of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

The Russian business newspaper Kommersant is reporting that Armenia may lose its temporary leadership position on a Russian-led defense organization as a result of its ouster of the current chairman.

Citing diplomatic sources from three countries, the Kommersant daily reported that a Belarusian candidate, Stanislav Zas, may become the new secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) after Armenia removed Yuri Khachaturov from the post last week.

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalian on November 5 said she could not comment on Zas's candidacy or the possibility of Armenia losing the rotating leadership post. Zas is currently state secretary of Belarus's Security Council

A new candidate for the post is likely to be discussed at a CSTO summit to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on November 8. The CSTO includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Khachaturov was ousted on November 2 after occupying the post since May 2017 as part of a rotating presidency.

He had been recalled in July amid charges of overthrowing the country’s constitutional order brought against him as part of a criminal investigation into a 2008 postelection crackdown. Khachaturov served as a deputy defense minister at that time.

The same charges were brought against former Armenian President Robert Kocharian, who was accused of ordering the use of the army for the violent repression of opposition-led protests, in which eight demonstrators and two police officers were killed.

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