Russia trying to transform CSTO into all-puropose mil-polit alliance

Agency WPS
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
January 19, 2007 Friday

RUSSIA’S NATO;
Russia is trying to transform the CIS Collective Security Treaty
Organization into an all-puropose military-political alliance

by Nikolai Poroskov

THE CIS COLLECTIVE SECURITY TREATY ORGANIZATION REPORTS RESULTS FOR
2006; Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha of the CIS Collective
Security Treaty Organization reported on results for 2006 yesterday.
Russia’s relations with some CIS countries and countries of the West
are deteriorating, and the CSTO may become a major tool for Russia’s
influence with its remaining allies.

Nikolai Bordyuzha, Secretary General of the CIS Collective Security
Treaty Organization (CSTO), reported on results for 2006 yesterday.
Russia’s relations with some CIS countries and countries of the West
are deteriorating, and the CSTO may become a major tool for Russia’s
influence with its remaining allies in the former Soviet Union.

On the other hand, retaining influence won’t be easy. The CSTO
currently comprises Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan, and Belarus. Relations with Belarus aren’t what they used
to be; Kazakhstan is promoting an independent policy; and even the
interests of Armenia aren’t exactly concentrated in Russia alone. As
for Kyrgyzstan, it is facing too many purely domestic problems to be
overly concerned with anything else.

Bordyuzha mentioned three events as hallmarks of 2006. First,
restoring Uzbekistan’s membership of the CSTO after Moscow backed the
brutal suppression of riots in Andijan in May 2005. Secondly,
drafting a declaration on the directions of future development of the
CSTO. The principle formulated by President Vladimir Putin remained
central: transforming the CSTO from a military-political alliance
into an all-purpose bloc capable of dealing with any and all threats
and challenges. In other words, the CSTO is supposed to become the
CIS counterpart of NATO. Thirdly, establishing the CSTO’s
Parliamentary Assembly.

Special attention was paid to Afghanistan in 2006. The government of
this country appointed a special envoy for dealings with the CSTO and
informed this international structure that it had no objections to
its participation in the pot-war restoration of Afghanistan.

Neither time nor effort was spared to establish contacts with
international security organizations. They were established with the
Counter-Terrorism Committee, UN Drug Trafficking Directorate,
International Immigration Organization, the Baltic States Council.
The CSTO worked on countering illegal migration, and on the
established Channel series of joint operations. Financial
intelligence services were used last year to expose illicit
transactions. The CSTO’s lists include 24 terrorist organizations.
Kazakhstan added several of them to the list last year.

The program for anti-drug and anti-terrorist resources of the CSTO
members was drawn up and set in motion. The matter essentially
concerns improving the performance of secret services and law
enforcement agencies. Documents were drafted that would allow for
their closer cooperation (documents on personnel training, discounts
on weapons and special equipment, and so on). The CSTO is considering
setting up coordinating councils of the heads of secret services and
law enforcement agencies.

But the emphasis was on the military element of CSTO activities.
Documents were drafted on establishing a united military group in
Central Asia, reequippiing rapid response forces, advancing the
united air defense system. A collective information security program
is under way. According to Bordyuzha, all this has enabled the CSTO
to make a more reliable forecast of what 2007 might bring.

Source: Vremya Novostei, January 18, 2007, p. 4

Translated by A. Ignatkin

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