By Ilya Kharlamov
A list of measures to be taken in case the situation in Afghanistan gets worse after the withdrawal of foreign troops from that country will be submitted to the heads of the CSTO member-states in the Kremlin on the 20th of December, the CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordiuzha said after a meeting of the ministers of the CSTO member-states.
The participants in a joint session of the ministers of foreign affairs and defence, and the CSTO Defence Secretaries Committee agreed upon 22 out of 30 issues concerning joint actions if the situation in Afghanistan becomes tense. The remaining 8 points of the agenda require a conceptual approach and will be considered in the near future. These documents will be prepared for signing on the 20th of December when the presidents of the CSTO member-states get together. Apart from that, the ministers of foreign affairs and defence summed up this year’s work. Belarus presided in the CSTO this year, so Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Martynov gives his comments:
“We have made serious progress in the peacekeeping cooperation between the CSTO and the UN. The head of the UN has taken part in a session of the CSTO permanent council and we have prepared a draft memorandum on cooperation. We are convinced that the CSTO potential can be used in peacekeeping. Now we are working on equipping the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (KSOR) with compatible modern munitions. We have also made considerable progress in foreign-policy coordination. For the first time in the history of the CSTO, the ministers of foreign affairs have given collective instructions on a number of issues to their ambassadors and representatives abroad.”
The session began with passing the CSTO presidency to Kazakhstan. That country will preside in the CSTO in its 20th anniversary year, which is a great honour. In this connection the presidents of the member-states will adopt a summing-up declaration, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kazykhanov said:
“We discussed a number of issues that have a strategic significance for our countries in the fields of cooperation in foreign policy, defence and resistance to today’s challenges and dangers. We recommended to put the issues of providing information security, resistance to threats coming from Afghan territory, cooperation in defence and politics and dealing with emergencies on the agenda of tomorrow’s session of the Collective Security Council.”
In addition, Kazakhstan enumerated the priorities of its presidency in the coming year. Among them are the development of KSOR, defence of the air space of the CSTO countries and a reform in the drug control strategy.
The ministers also discussed the recent disorders in the Kazakh city of Zhanaozen which resulted in several casualties. Yerzhan Kazykhanov assured the participants that the situation has stabilised and an investigation is going on there.