MINSK, 13 February (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko called for greater unity in the Collective Security Treaty Organization as he met with Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Imangali Tasmagambetov on 13 February, BelTA has learned.
“Challenges are many. We took the risk to compile the program of our presidency in the organization so that we could try to solve the problems that we have, especially on the borders of CSTO member states. I do not speak of your experience in vain. You have a great memory. You know well both the Caucasus and Central Asia. We have problems there. Let us try to resolve them and, as much as possible, bring the Collective Security Treaty Organization together in these difficult times. You see what is happening on the perimeter,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that all members of the CSTO should unite and act together, because it is always easier and simpler to act this way. “If someone thinks that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is not our conflict, that we will sit quietly somewhere – nothing of the kind, it will not be like that. The time will come (it is not far away, literally tomorrow) and it will require us to define ourselves, to take a certain position. I am not saying that this should be done to the detriment of national interests. Despite all the shortcomings in the union we will have to clearly define our policy, our line in order to act together. It is always simpler and easier to act together,” the president said.
The head of state once again stressed that no one is pushing states to act contrary to their national interests. “We will have to find compromises however. Within the CSTO we have found them long ago, and we act as one organization. I think we have to go through this difficult period, and it will further unite our organization on the principles that are necessary and possible for every state, which is a member of this organization. Let us think about it together,” the Belarusian leader said.
Welcoming Imangali Tasmagambetov, who recently assumed the position of CSTO secretary general, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that they had known each other for a long time, although they had not directly encountered each other. While working in other positions, the current secretary general has interacted with government representatives and other officials.
“I am pleased to meet with you, an experienced person. We have much in common. You and I worked in the Komsomol in our youth. You have come a very long way that deserves respect. Today there are few people who have such experience from the Soviet times (we can evaluate this period differently), and they are worth a lot. I think this experience of yours, including your diplomatic work, will be useful to us. Especially this year during Belarus' presidency in the organization. It will be also useful during forthcoming years of your work in the CSTO. It will not only come in handy, it will be in high demand,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
In his words, such experience is highly valuable, because it is necessary to pass it on to a younger, less experienced generation: “I often say this in Belarus. Kazakhstan has already been experiencing it - the change of generations in politics. This rarely goes painless. I would like it to be painless. Both for us and for you. Maybe you will say something about Kazakhstan in the second part [of the meeting].
Imangali Tasmagambetov thanked the Belarusian leader for supporting his candidacy for the position of CSTO secretary general at the organization's session in November 2022. He said that he assumed his duties on 10 January 2023. “Since then I have been closely involved in the process. The most important thing is to prepare an action plan and the main priority issues of Belarus' presidency for 2023,” said Imangali Tasmagambetov. According to him, at this stage they have managed to take into account all the decisions of the November session and the priorities of the Belarusian presidency in the CSTO.
As BelTA has informed earlier, the CSTO chief was to submit to the Belarusian head of state an action plan to implement the decisions of the November (2022) session of the CSTO Collective Security Council and the CSTO's priority areas of activity during the chairmanship of Belarus in the organization.
Imangali Tasmagambetov was born in Kazakhstan in December 1956. He began his career as a coach of a children's and youth sports school, then taught geography and biology, worked in various Komsomol positions, up to the post of first secretary of the Central Committee of the Komsomol of Kazakhstan.
After the disintegration of the USSR, he held various government positions, including the posts of Prime Minister, Head of the Presidential Administration, Minister of Defense, Akim of Almaty and Astana. Prior to his appointment to the CSTO in 2017-2019, he served as Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia.
The Belarusian chairmanship in the CSTO is held under the motto "Through solidarity and cooperation towards peace and security". The Belarusian chairmanship will focus on the following priority areas: settlement of crisis situations and prevention of further destabilization in the CSTO zone of responsibility; effective positioning of the CSTO internationally; increasing the readiness of the components of the CSTO troops (collective forces) to perform tasks as intended, strengthening military-technical cooperation; building the institutional capacities of the CSTO in the information and analytical sectors.