The leaders of the countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) have held their first face-to-face summit in 2.5 years. The event, marking the 30th anniversary of the signing of the document and the 20th anniversary of the association itself, took place in the Alexander Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace.
Leaders of all member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization arrived in Moscow: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (the incumbent chairman of the CSTO), as well as Alexander Lukashenko, Sadyr Zhaparov, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Emomali Rakhmon, presidents of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan while Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the anniversary summit.
First, the Russian leader congratulated those present on the association's 30th anniversary and emphasized that the CSTO plays “an important role” in stabilizing the post-Soviet space. At the same time, Putin expressed hope that the CSTO's ability to influence the situation in its area of responsibility will continue to grow, especially in today's “difficult” times.
After the speech of the Russian leader, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko addressed the audience. First of all, he drew attention to the fact that the “redistribution of the world” is currently taking place, and the unipolar system of the world order is literally “becoming a thing of the past” before our eyes. However the West, according to him, is in a “bitter struggle” for its position, NATO is building up its military forces, and “there is rattling of weapons near the western border of Belarus,” while so far neutral countries such as Sweden and Finland are being drawn into the North Atlantic bloc. In this regard, Lukashenko noted that the CSTO, unlike NATO, is a “truly protective” union.
For his part, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized that the Collective Security Treaty Organization should pay more attention to the Afghanistan direction, since the situation there is unstable. Tokayev stressed that armed groups in Afghanistan threaten the security of our states, and called on the CSTO to involve the UN in peacekeeping activities, because “this step will strengthen the CSTO's legal personality and ensure the practice of participation of the organization in international peacekeeping operations.”
On the other hand, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov sounded the alarm about the “wave of sanctions” that are targeting his country's economy, which has not yet recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Zhaparov, there is now a real threat to food and energy security, social stability and macroeconomic stability. He noted that under these conditions, “there is a need to discuss and develop common approaches to mitigate the effects of sanctions and prevent the deterioration of the socio-economic situation in our countries.” The Kyrgyz leader proposed to discuss all this in Bishkek during the future meeting of the Eurasian Economic Council and the First Eurasian Economic Forum.
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon said in his speech at the summit that the most important task for the CSTO is to strengthen collective security in such “alarming times.”
He praised the peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan earlier this year as a success and said the credibility of the CSTO was increasing as the CSTO's practical actions were taking place. The Leader of Tajikistan also added that much attention is paid to “field and practical exercises” and the provision of new and modern weapons, which certainly supports combat readiness in addressing joint tasks.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the CSTO the “most important factor” ensuring security in his speech at the summit, but at the same time he noted that there was a lack of “synchronization of actions” among the CSTO member countries. Pashinyan also mentioned the importance of effective crisis response mechanisms.
During this meeting in Moscow, leaders of Collective Security Treaty Organization member states signed multilateral documents. In particular, the leaders of the CSTO member states adopted a joint statement on military cooperation. In addition, during the anniversary summit, Vladimir Putin held separate bilateral meetings with the heads of CSTO member states.
As for the details of the special military operation in Ukraine, they were discussed during the closed part of the summit. As for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Putin said that the expansion of the military structure to this territory would definitely “cause a response.”
According to the plan, joint exercises of armed forces of the CSTO member countries will be carried out this fall in the territory of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The planned activities will increase combat readiness, the level of coordination of military structures of the CSTO member countries and the entire peacekeeping potential of the organization.