CSTO to hold ministerial-level conference in Moscow on Nov 12

CSTO to hold ministerial-level conference in Moscow on Nov 12
By Eduard Gushchin

ITAR-TASS News Agency
November 10, 2004 Wednesday 8:34 AM Eastern Time

MOSCOW, November 10 — Counteraction to terrorism is featuring ever
more prominently in the activity of the Collective Security Treaty
Organization (CSTO), according to Russian Foreign Affairs Spokesman
Alexander Yakovenko, who was speaking ahead of the meeting of the
foreign ministers of the CSTO member countries that will take place
in Moscow on Friday, November 12.

Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are
members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

According to Yakovenko, the CSTO Collective Rapid Deployment
Forces “have played an important role in suppressing the activity
of terrorist groups of Islamic extremists in Central Asia and have
become a stability factor.”

A Russian military base opened in Kant, Kyrgyzstan, in November 2003.
The aviation wing of the CSTO Rapid Deployment Forces is based there.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization pays much attention
to the suppression of illicit drug trafficking. The first phase of
Operation Kanal-2004 aiming to curb drug trafficking from Afghanistan
took place in October. More than 2.5 thousand joint operational units
were engaged in the operation. As a result, they seized over 2,700
kg of narcotic substances, including 131 kilogram of heroin.

They also “located the drug trafficking channels and the routes along
which narcotic drugs are taken to Western Europe across the territory
of the CSTO member countries,” Yakovenko said.

The second phase of Operation Kanal-2004 is being planned; competent
agencies of Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will take part in it.

The CSTO “is open to cooperation and interaction with the United
Nations and other international organizations, including NATO,”
Yakovenko said. According to him, “The leadership of the Alliance
is now considering a number of proposals concerning dialogue and
interaction” with a number of international organizations.

The Russian diplomat believes that the creation of a common information
field intended to facilitate the efficient functioning of the
Collective Security System is also a very important direction of work.

“The first step in this direction was taken in April 2004 when an
international anti-terrorist media forum was held,” Yakovenko said.