A collective response to external threats

The meeting of the Сouncil of Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) takes place in Sochi
By Lilia Khlystun

“Co-ordinated approaches to respond to arising challenges and threats.” Topical issues concerning world policy which were included in the agenda of the session of CSTO Council, and are relevant for each of the participating countries. Comprehension and general understanding of these issues is important. Firstly, these topics were discussed at the traditional meeting of the presidents of six countries privately, then later at the expanded meeting where about ten documents were signed. One of the most significant was the decision on collective help for Tajikistan in strengthening its border with Afghanistan. At the private meeting, Alexander Lukashenko called this issue vital.

“The problems coming from Afghanistan are trans-national, and if we are inactive, they will snowball. Therefore it is vital for our own safety to help Tajikistan,” said the President.

The situation of the external borders of CSTO underwent special attention at the meeting presided, this year, by Kyrgyzstan. Considering the current situation, the President considers that the difficulties in Tajikistan are currently the main issue for CSTO.

“Right now we are close to taking decisive steps to aid in the prevention of this threat. This is what our allies expect,” noted the President.

According to Mr. Lukashenko, the possibility of aiding Tajikistan has been discussed many times, and at various levels, in recent years. In particular, Belarus made the decision to train Tadjik officers in the Military Academy free of charge. Lukashenko emphasised that, only by joint efforts  it will be possible to effectively help an ally which needs real help. The President paid special attention to the timeliness of common actions.

“It is known that the Americans are interested in the region, and there is information regarding the intent of the USA and NATO to leave some armaments and hardware, which are currently in Afghanistan, in the area. Moreover, they are ready to finance the construction of border guard posts at the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border. But nothing comes for free. It is expected that they will ask something in return for their services. We will discuss and decide today whether it will be beneficial for our allies in CSTO, or not. I doubt that it is beneficial,” said Mr. Lukashenko.

The problems relating to Afghanistan were discussed at the expanded meeting. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, who will hold the CSTO Presidency next year, emphasised that CSTO, will try to operate in advance, jointly helping Tajikistan with development of the infrastructure at the border with Afghanistan.

There are no doubts that such a task is within the grasp of this military-political block. According to the President, since the formation of CSTO it has been possible to create an effective flexible system. It can respond to new challenges and threats, relying first of all on preventive measures. This meets, not only the interests of all member states, but also provides safety, stability and predictability for a considerable part of the Eurasian continent.

According to the President, it is also vital to develop new directions of activity for CSTO, including a peace-making component. Other areas of co-operation as information and boundary safety protection are developing dynamically. The foundation of a co-ordinated information policy of CSTO member states is being created.

The President said that this had been a relatively calm year for the organisation. No internal surprises occurred, work was carried out normally and this allowed them to focus on everyday tasks aimed at strengthening and developing CSTO in all areas.

Alexander Lukashenko also noted that the type of actions suggested by Russia at the Sochi meeting gives them a chance to hold necessary meetings in a quiet atmosphere, as well as to discuss current international problems, problems of safety within the organisation’s zone of responsibility and to develop the co-ordinated approaches on responding to any challenges and threats that may arise.
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