Posted: 28.11.2023 12:16:00

CSTO countries strengthen security in the region

A session of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation was held at the Palace of Independence

The summit began with protocol events. In the Ceremony Hall, the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, met the leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (the Armenian side decided not to participate in the summit). 
After taking photographs together, the Heads of State held negotiations in a limited format under the chairmanship of Aleksandr Lukashenko.
“The year was fast-paced in terms of the development of the geopolitical situation. Since the spring, Belarus has hosted CSTO events almost every month,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
The CSTO countries conducted a set of exercises to strengthen the military component of the organisation. In October, Minsk became the venue for a major international conference on Eurasian security, held under the auspices of the Belarusian chairmanship in the CSTO.
“Our organisation remains an integral part of the efforts to ensure the security of the CSTO member states and the Eurasian region as a whole,” the President said.
Last November, during a session of the Collective Security Council in Yerevan, Aleksandr Lukashenko voiced the priority directions of Belarus’ chairmanship both on the internal and external circuits.
“On the internal circuit, we sought to increase the cohesion of the CSTO member states in order to strengthen the organisation itself, to ensure security and stability in the area of responsibility. Externally, our goal was to bolster the role and importance of the organisation in the system of international relations. Today we can say that the goals set by the Belarusian side in November last year have been generally achieved,” the Head of the Belarusian State said.
According to him, some of the activities have already been completed. Work on others is still in progress. Some other goals are long term and have been taken into consideration by both the member states and the CSTO Secretariat.
“The results of the work are a collective success achieved through the effort of all of us — the parties to the agreement. We would not have been able to implement our plans without the support of friends and partners for the priorities of the Belarusian chairmanship. It is necessary to find new solutions to strengthen the security of our states,” the President of Belarus emphasised.
During the meeting in a narrow format, the Presidents discussed current problems of international and regional security, summed up the activities of the CSTO during the intersessional period, and also heard information from the CSTO Secretary General.
Aleksandr Lukashenko voiced the position of Belarus as the country presiding over the organisation this year, 
“Each of us looks at the world through the prism of national interests. This is understandable and justified. We, the Heads of State, bear responsibility for our peoples, their future and security. At the same time, balancing national and collective interests of all CSTO member states guarantees the stability and security of the region as a whole... We got caught up in the whirlwind of the change of epochs. We are witnessing the collapse of the system of international relations. Furthermore, we are participants in the dismantling of the unipolar, if you will, Western-centric model.”
The President of Belarus drew attention to the fact that a gradual, but at the same time dramatic transition to multipolarity is taking place. This is due to the fact that Western politicians do not want to give up their positions, ignoring the inexorable course of history, which, as we know, cannot be stopped.
Under the slogan of the ‘rules-based order’ that replaces international law the West tries to dominate the entire world more and more often. All the known dirty tricks are put to use starting with sanctions, blackmail and ending with the fomenting of inter-ethnic conflicts. 
The question is correct: but what are these rules, and who instituted them? A rhetorical question. Naturally, we know who did it and why. There is another essential point: a larger part of the world is unwilling to play by these rules while the language of diplomacy was replaced with sabre rattling a long time ago. International law works exclusively for the benefit of a select few.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that against the background of the odious bellicose rhetoric of individual politicians and the complete loss of mutual trust, there is a deliberate unwinding of the spiral of a new arms race, 
“The fire of regional conflicts, including the use of the latest weapons systems, can spread to other countries at any time. It is no secret that weapons supplied to Kiev go to black markets. Western politicians are not concerned about this, but we consider the uncontrolled movement of weapons and military equipment as a potential security threat not only for our region, but for all countries of the world. Especially now, when a new conflict is raging in the Middle East.”
The President of Belarus expressed concern about the premonition of a global catastrophe that has gripped the world, that the spark of a regional conflict could ignite the flame of a new world war. This is something that the world is talking about while those overseas are only waiting for countries close to the CSTO area of responsibility to be drawn into this war. 
This so-called controlled chaos is what the United States and the West want.
The Head of State added that against this backdrop complaints about the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in our country, on our territory are simply absurd. Belarusians don’t threaten anyone — we simply learn so-called diplomatic etiquette from those, who have made the language of force a world trend.
“This is the reality of today — nowadays only the presence of powerful weapons guarantees security in the region and gives the right to speak in the international arena. The very fact that we have gathered here shows that we adequately assess the challenges of the time and are ready to respond to them together. When some of our partners say and do provocative things, it is their problem, first of all. I will say one thing: if you are not okay with something, say it right in the face instead of taking your grievances to the media,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The Head of State expressed confidence that the CSTO countries, no matter what, are able to cope with all the difficulties in their area of responsibility.
Belarus’ presidency in the organisation embraced the motto ‘Through solidarity and co-operation towards peace and security’. If we are united, then our organisation will be stronger. We have formulated priority aspects of the presidency in a way to lay the foundation for a long-term perspective of development of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. But it is not enough. We have to be stronger and more united.
Let’s be frank: we still lack the maximum of it. We should move towards it faster. We don’t want to wake up and start acting only after something happens.

Priorities of Kazakhstan during its chairmanship in the CSTO

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, at a session of the CSTO Collective Security Council, proposed a number of priority areas on which it is necessary to focus the activities of the CSTO during the chairmanship of Kazakhstan, which will pass to the republic from January 1st, 2024. Main points:
• First. Co-operation of the CSTO with interested countries and international organisations in the field of security, including the UN and its structures. Further deepening of co-operation with the CIS and SCO.
• Second. Interaction on issues of military co-operation: finalisation of the regulatory framework on issues of ensuring the operational deployment of the CSTO Collective Forces, continued development of the military personnel training system and the military-scientific potential of the CSTO member states. It is proposed to place special emphasis on unlocking the peacekeeping potential of the organisation.
• Third. Development of co-operation to counter international terrorism and extremism. Close attention will be paid to the anti-terrorist component of the collective security system.
• Fourth. Combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
• Fifth. Combating illicit arms trafficking and organised transnational crime.
• Sixth. Deepening co-operation in the field of prevention and liquidation of consequences of emergency situations.
• Seventh. Combating crimes in the field of information technology.
Vladimir Putin

One-on-one conversation

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, spoke face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the CSTO summit in Minsk.
At first, the two Presidents discussed general matters at the Palace of Independence, after that they continued their conversation in a car. By the way, the leaders chose Russia’s Aurus car for the joint trip. Aleksandr Lukashenko accompanied his Russian counterpart to the airport.

Package of documents

A total of 15 documents were submitted for signing during the CSTO summit in Minsk. The CSTO Collective Security Council signed a declaration, which is designed to emphasise fundamental principles of the organisation’s operation. The document expresses the organisation’s stance on topical international security problems.
A decision on measures to develop the Collective Security Treaty Organisation’s crisis response system was made. The CSTO Collective Security Council also approved a regulation on the joint press centre of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
Decisions on a number of personnel matters were signed. Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov of Russia was appointed Chief of the CSTO Joint Staff. A decision was made on distributing quota-based jobs in the organisation for the next three-year period.
The structure of the CSTO Joint Staff has been adjusted for the sake of improving the performance of working bodies of the organisation as they deal with current tasks and new ones.
The Heads of State also discussed matters concerning the enhancement and development of military co-operation of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the organisation’s budget.
The Collective Security Council next session will be held in the fourth quarter of 2024 in Astana.

Bilateral meetings

Emomali Rahmon
 On the eve of the summit, the Belarusian leader held meetings with the Presidents of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Emomali Rahmon and Sadyr Japarov.   The Belarusian Head of State noted the suscessful development of the economy of Tajikistan, despite the difficult situation in the region, “I know that the situation is not simple for all of us. Yours has never been simple. You feel heat from the south all the time. I know that things are complicated. But I am always amazed by your ability to keep the economy going in such a situation. I am very glad that you grow gradually but confidently in power engineering. I will be very glad if you sell a huge amount of electricity in that region. It will be a good revenue for the hardworking Tajik people.”
Sadyr Japarov
As for bilateral relations, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that a good increase in mutual trade is expected this year, “Our trade turnover will be close to $100 million. We are ready to buy your products, especially agricultural ones, which we, unfortunately, do not have, in any volumes. This is why Tajikistan has contacted us with a request to set up a powerful trade centre here. You have to know that we will do everything to set up the centre.”
The conversation with Sadyr Japarov took place behind closed doors, but it is known that among the topics raised were the CSTO, as well as some aspects in the development of bilateral relations.
During a meeting at the end of October with the Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan Ermek Ibraimov, Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop a country plan for the development of relations with this country. Belarus is ready not only to significantly expand the range of supplied goods, equipment and machinery, but also to share its accumulated experience in various industries and help with personnel training. 

The Chairmanship of Belarus is assessed positively

Following the summit in Minsk, CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov told reporters that the Belarusian side took an active position during its chairmanship of the CSTO, and managed to do a lot within the Organisation.

Imangali Tasmagambetov

“Belarus’ presidency is evaluated positively. The heads of state spoke highly of it. Minsk showed a very active stance and the organisation has managed to accomplish a great deal this year. And the year has been complicated,” Imangali Tasmagambetov said.
He stated that the CSTO had to act in the context of the ongoing destruction of the international architecture. Based on this, attention was paid to improving the collective security system. Mechanisms to combat illegal migration, drug trafficking and transnational crime have also received further development. Also, a lot of work has been done to improve the analytical component of the CSTO’s activities, and a major international conference on the topic of security in the Eurasian space has been held.

CSTO decisions are absolutely legitimate

On the sidelines of the summit, State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Aleksandr Volfovich emphasised that Armenia did not block a single decision of the CSTO summit, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia have agreed on all the decisions [documents submitted to the summit attended by the heads of state], on the declaration. This is a testimony to mutual understanding, including on the part of Armenia, in addressing issues within the scope of responsibility of the organisation. Of course, we would like everyone to be present today: both heads of state and delegations. But the most important thing is that the Armenian side agreed on all the decisions. There are objective and subjective reasons, apparently, why our Armenian colleagues decided not to arrive in Minsk today. I think Armenia has no desire to leave the CSTO. This will not be for the benefit of the people of Armenia, first of all, and for the benefit of the country.

Based on materials of and
Photos by belta