Important to preserve stability
Events in Tajikistan and the unexpected position of Uzbekistan become central to meeting between Alexander Lukashenko and CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha
By Veniamin Mishutin
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are currently in the foreground in the context of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. The former has announced its withdrawal from the organisation, while Tajikistan is carrying out major operations against rebel armed forces in the east of the country. The President noted with interest, “It is a member of our organisation but the situation is complicated and the address of the President of Tajikistan cannot be ignored.”
Regarding Uzbekistan, Mr. Lukashenko enquired, “What is its position and upon what is it based? You’ve met with the leaders of Russia and know their position. A decision should be taken; we cannot escape this.” Mr. Bordyuzha answered, “All of these trends are negative, showing that the situation is deteriorating across the former Soviet Union.” He noted that Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from CSTO membership is within its rights, since the president of each country can decide.
Later, talking to journalists, Mr. Bordyuzha expressed his personal point of view, saying, “In my opinion, Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the organisation won’t be to its benefit, as it will miss out on collective efforts to stabilise the situation in Central Asia. This is complex, being primarily related to what’s happening in Afghanistan.” He is convinced that Uzbekistan will feel the consequences of its move, since it’s quite difficult to solve security issues alone. Nevertheless, there are no immediate ‘fatal results’.
“The CSTO has received a lot of negative press but I believe this is totally unfounded. The organisation is capable enough of functioning and, importantly, has the power to collectively respond to threats and challenges faced by its member states. Some ‘experts’ may rejoice at the CSTO ‘collapsing’ but it’s really not so. The CSTO is capable of functioning and can perform the tasks facing it.”
According to Mr. Bordyuzha, the CSTO is ready to lend a shoulder to Tajikistan, in the form of material resources for the military. However, there is no talk of direct intervention in conflict resolution. “As for the essence of the processes taking place in Tajikistan, they are entirely related to the internal life of Tajikistan, so do not require intervention of any collective forces. I do not see any need. I know that the power structures of Tajikistan are capable of resolving the situation in Gorno-Badakhshan.”
During the meeting, the current activities of the organisation were also discussed. According to the Secretary General, training will soon begin for Collective Rapid Reaction Forces in the Central Asia Region. In September, the KSOR in Armenia will receive training, with those in Kazakhstan taking their turn in October.
The main objective is the preservation of stability and tranquillity across the CSTO zone of responsibility.