By Svetlana Andreyeva
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is holding an out of schedule jubilee session in Moscow on May 15. The CSTO comprises seven countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The agenda of the meeting features global and regional security challenges, including Afghan drug trafficking, which is likely to become more intense after NATO troops withdraw from the Islamic Republic by the end of 2014.
The CSTO was founded in Tashkent in 1992 at the initiative of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. This was a treaty Tashkent needed badly then amid signs of a civil war in the neighboring Tajikistan and the rule of the mujahedin in Afghanistan. However, it was clear then that the CSTO treaty would also help Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Belarus which joined the alliance later. These countries, except Russia, lacked strong armies to protect their sovereignty.
On May 14, 2002, a charter was signed to found the CSTO. Expert for the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Azhdar Kurtov comments…
“The CSTO`s development has not been smooth. Nevertheless, its 20-year history has some landmark achievements: the end of a civil war in Tajikistan, prevention of rebels from entering Kyrgyzstan, the creation of rapid reaction forces to ensure adequate handling of regional conflicts. As of today, the CSTO really ensures a more rapid and effective interaction between the member states.”
Since its foundation two decades ago, the CSTO has turned into an experienced organization capable of responding to global threats. Time dictates its own rules, demanding the member states to work out new mechanisms to counteract new challenges, apart from terrorism and drug trafficking, says Alexei Vlasov, the head of the Center for Post – Soviet and East European Studies…
“These new challenges are: risks we`ve been facing in the field of information and social security, and tasks usually handled by the Emergency Situations Ministry: rescue in natural disasters, force majeure situations. Apart from this, the CSTO itself needs reforming. This is where I support Vladimir Putin who said that it is important to outline priorities. In other words, the CSTO member countries should decide whether they are ready to comply with decision made within the organization or the issue of national sovereignty dominates their priority list. The consensus principle sometimes fails to work.”
After the CSTO session on May 15 the Council of the CIS heads of states is scheduled to have an informal meeting attracting the presidents of 11 CIS nations. These talks will be focused on key issues of global politics and economy.