MINSK, 15 October (BelTA) – The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is an important organization, and we must develop it, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas on 15 October, BelTA has learned.
“The events here in August and the reaction to these events, first of all, in Russia show that this organization is very important, and we must develop it. In a conversation with Putin I spoke about it: now we have, probably, realized what the CSTO is and why we need it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president recalled that a few years ago a new military doctrine had been adopted in Belarus. It included provisions on such phenomena as hybrid wars and color revolutions. “Something like that could have happened in Belarus. Therefore, we had to respond and to demonstrate force as well. We looked at the entire western region, found our range, as they say in the army. Probably, it helped those abroad to come to their senses and to realize that our fist is strong and we can respond seriously. Therefore, the CSTO should exist, we will take an active part in it. Even if it is uncomfortable for someone, we will work there,” the head of state said.
“Therefore, in the period of Belarus' leadership we would like the CSTO secretary general to adhere to the agreed position and to encourage efficient work. You will have absolute support on our behalf,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
Apart from that, the president asked a few personal questions to Stanislav Zas. “Have you adapted there or not? It's better not to strike root, but to feel comfortable enough to work well,” he said.
“I'm fine, but I am not going to stay there forever,” Stanistav Zas answered.
“To stay? No, it's out of the question!” the head of state said.
“My tenure has a specified time limit, I am doing my best, and then I will come back,” the Belarusian general said. “As far as the situation is concerned, the pandemic has a very strong influence this year. The first stage is already behind, now the second wave has come – there is an increase in all our countries. Russia posted an anti-record yesterday: 244 people died within 24 hours. The situation is not easy. However, such restrictive measures [like before] are not applied.”
On current activities and rescheduling of CSTO exercise
The COVID-19 pandemic has made adjustments to the activities of the CSTO. The majority of scheduled events are held online, part of operations and exercises has been rescheduled. For example, the anti-drug operation Kanal [Channel] and the operation to combat illegal migration Nelegal have been postponed till 2021.
Out of the seven scheduled events, only Echelon in Russia and Nerushimoye Bratstvo [Unbreakable Brotherhood] in Belarus were held this year. The remaining five – Vzaimodeistviye [Interaction] and Poisk [Search] in Armenia, Rubezh [Frontier] in Kyrgyzstan, Cobalt in Tajikistan and the rescuers' exercise in Russia – have been postponed till 2021.
The organization will continue doing its best to integrate its potential in the system of UN peacemaking activities. The ratification of the agreement on the legalization of the statuses of CSTO partners and observers is nearing completion. In this regards, plans have been made to expand cooperation with the CIS, the OSCE and the SCO; among states – with Serbia.
Besides, the CSTO has finished the development of the anti-drug strategy for 2021-2025.
Attitude to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
After the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict permanent working bodies of the CSTO did not receive any official statements from the Armenian side, the representatives of the organization say. At the same time, the CSTO Permanent Committee received a statement from the prime minister of Armenia, statements of the permanent representative of Armenia at the CSTO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Previously, CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas had already expressed concerns and regrets over the resumption of the military conflict. The organization summoned Armenia and Azerbaijan to strive for peaceful settlement of the conflict and to restrain from provocative activities.
On preparations for CSTO summit
The session of the CSTO Collective Security Council is scheduled for 2 December. It is expected to take place in Moscow. Before that, plans have been made to hold a meeting of the CSTO Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils on 17 November and the meetings of ministers of defense and foreign affairs on 1 December.
The heads of state are expected to sign 17 documents, including the declaration of the CSTO Collective Security Council, a statement on the establishment of the just and sustainable world order, an agreement on army activities, a protocol on introducing amendments to the agreement on peacemaking operations. It is also expected that an anti-drug strategy of the CSTO member states for 2021-2025 will be approved.