A one-day summit of the leaders from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) including Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan concluded in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, on Monday. The leaders of Armenia, Belarus and Russia also participated in the event. CSTO is a six-member military and political alliance of the former Soviet republics.
"This was an important event in strengthening the CSTO," Vladimir Sotirov, the UN secretary-general's special representative in Tajikistan, told IRIN from Dushanbe. "It increases the cooperation among the participating states in military and security fields, which is also a prerequisite for strengthening their link in other fields, and will add to the stability of the region," he said.
Although no complete official details of the summit were available, the French news agency AFP reported that CSTO members had set up a joint military command to oversee a rapid reaction force given the increasing security risks in Central Asia.
"The main aim of CSTO is to assure the security and territorial integrity of the member countries," Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists. The summit named Nikolai Bordiuzha, the 53-year-old former head of the Russian Security Council, secretary-general of the organisation. Sources told IRIN that the meeting had also discussed the formation of proper agencies that would eventually perform CSTO-mandated functions.
The CSTO was established through the Collective Security Treaty (CST) in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, in 1992 by the heads of state of six countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, these being Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Azerbaijan subsequently joined the CST in 1993, together with Belarus and Georgia.
The CST became effective on 20 April 1994 for a period of five years with potential subsequent extensions. In 1999, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan pulled out of the treaty. The charter of the CSTO and its legal status were approved in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, on 7 October 2002.
In the past, the CSTO focused largely on joint security concerns in Central Asia, but never had a proper organisational structure. The alliance aims to focus on preserving the territorial integrity of member states, and seeking closer cooperation with the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions