US, Armenia pledge to increase ties as Russia’s influence dealt a blow

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Russia’s outsized influence in Armenia took another blow on Wednesday after Yerevan said it would leave the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The move comes after Russian peacekeepers were accused of not doing enough to help Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh during the 2020 war with Azerbaijan.

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Meanwhile, senior US and Armenian diplomats met in Yerevan this week, pledging to increase bilateral ties.

“The sides positively assessed cooperation to support Armenia’s ongoing reforms and democratic progress and noted Armenia’s aspirations for closer cooperation with Euro-Atlantic institutions and the West,” a joint statement between the US and Armenia said.

The two sides announced that they would deepen ties in the coming year, which will be formalized by signing a deal to upgrade the status of bilateral dialogue to a Strategic Partnership Commission.

According to the State Department, trade turnover between Washington and Yerevan has quadrupled since 2020.

Military officials vowed to establish formal bilateral defense consultations to “regularize planning of defense cooperation objectives.”

Under Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia has tried to forge stronger ties with the West. But a deal he struck with Azerbaijan has drawn fierce backlash at home, with protests calling for his resignation.

Armenia has returned villages it captured in the 90s to Baku and given up large swathes of territory in Nagorno-Karabakh, much to the ire of many Armenians.

Read more: Armenian archbishop calls for prime minister’s ouster amid political turmoil

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