Russia: CSTO Head Concerned About Destabilization In South Caucasus,


Interfax News Agency
March 12 2008

"Despite the latest compromise resolution on Iran passed by the UN
Security Council on 3 March, who can guarantee that attempts to solve
the problems of Iran’s nuclear programme by military force will be
avoided?" Secretary-General of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty
Organization) Nikolay Bordyuzha has said, as reported by Interfax-AVN
news agency on 12 March.

Use of force against Iran would "inevitably provoke a sharp reaction
from countries of the Islamic world, especially the Shiite parts,"
Bordyuzha said, speaking at a conference in Moscow. Bordyuzha noted
that this was "not a frivolous issue" for the CSTO given that some of
its member states enjoy close cooperation with Iran. "Incidentally,
there will be major exercises in the South Caucasus this autumn under
the aegis of NATO, in Armenia, which borders Iran," he added.

In a later Interfax-AVN report on the same day, Bordyuzha was quoted
commenting on external factors "destabilizing" the South Caucasus.

"The situation in Iraq, which has been destabilized seriously and
for the long term, is increasing concern about the situation in the
region. Raids by Turkish forces into a neighbouring country have
raised the level of tension, which was already high. Regarding a
ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh zone, events at the beginning of
March have made a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement much more difficult,"
Bordyuzha said, according to the report.

Commenting on recent events in Armenia, Bordyuzha said: "One cannot
forget that, in our opinion, forces from outside the region had
an influence on the events in Yerevan to a certain extent, as the
media reported".

He added that interference by such forces was "quite clear with
regard to the Central Asian region". "In particular it concerns
statements by NATO figures, who were testing the waters regarding the
use of Uzbekistan’s military infrastructure to support operations
by international forces to facilitate security in Afghanistan,"
said Bordyuzha.

This interest is dictated by geopolitical and economic motives,
particularly the battle for natural resources, he added, according
to the report.

"As for the problem of Kosovo, the scenario of Pristina’s apologists –
together with the accession to NATO of three Balkan countries, Albania,
Macedonia and Croatia, planned for April this year at the summit in
Bucharest, and the USA’s acquisition of the option of creating mobile
bases in Romania and Bulgaria – not only contradicts international law,
but basically destroys the former system of international relations,"
Bordyuzha said, as quoted in another Interfax-AVN report.

On the subject of Abkhazia, Bordyuzha expressed his approval for
Russia’s lifting of sanctions from the Georgian breakaway republic.

Another Interfax-AVN report on the same day quoted him as saying:
"The time for that decision had come, and I believe it was the correct
one, because it allows the Abkhaz region to develop, and allows the
socio-economic state of affairs in Abkhazia to improve."

Russia’s decision is "equally important for both the Abkhaz people
and the Russian people; it is an evolution of the development of
ongoing processes," he added.

"Conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia must be solved in a way
that avoids bloodshed and violence. For this, the interests of both
the Abkhaz and the Georgians need to be taken into account," said
Bordyuzha, according the report. "The main thing is not to bring the
conflict to escalation, as happened in the Karabakh conflict zone on
1 March," he added.