Armenia takes on rotating chairmanship of the CSTO

On Thursday (16 September), the Collective Security Council (CSC) of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) held a session in Dushanbe, chaired by the president of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon. The heads of state of the six member countries, as well as the CSTO secretary general, Stanislav Zas, participated in the meeting, although Russian President Vladimir Putin was only present online.

The Council discussed a range of international and regional security issues, such as the development of broader security measures aimed at preventing challenges in the Central Asia region. The recent situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the CSTO member States’ security was also discussed at length. Given Tajikistan’s 1344 km border with Afghanistan, it was agreed that a series of large-scale trainings of the CSTO Collective Forces would be held near the Tajik-Afghan border next month. Moreover, at a pre-summit meeting the day before, Zas promised Tajikistan “all the necessary military and military-technical assistance" in the case of a deteriorating situation.

In the course of the session, a package of documents was also signed, ranging from an Agreement on joint logistical and medical support for CSTO troops to a plan to equip the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Forces with modern weapons, military and special equipment and special facilities

The rotating chairmanship of the CSTO will now pass to Armenia for 2021-2022. In a statement, the prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, laid out his vision and priorities for the upcoming year, which includes: the need to deepen foreign policy co-ordination; increasing the volume of multi-level consultations; improving the measures and mechanisms for combatting terrorism; expanding cooperation with other interested international organisations. 

It was agreed that the next session of the CSC would be held in Yerevan in the 4th quarter of 2022. 

The CSTO also held a joint meeting yesterday (17 September) with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), to discuss the Afghanistan situation in more depth, and address the emerging challenges and threats. The SCO was also holding its summit in Dushambe. The SCO, which includes China and India among its members has a somewhat more ambiguous attitude on the issue of Afghanistan. The final statement of the SCO summit said that member states advocate the development of Afghanistan without terrorism, war and drugs, the declaration says.

"The member states believe that the prompt settlement of the situation in Afghanistan is one of the most important factors of the preservation and strengthening of security and stability on the SCO territory.

They also called on the international community to assist in the safe repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland.

"While underscoring the importance of many years of hospitality and efficient aid to Afghan refugees, provided by the regional states, the member states also consider it important for the international community to assist in their dignified, safe and sustainable repatriation," the statement says.


source: with agencies
photo: Session of the CSTO Collective Security Council, Dushanbe, 16 September; Website of the CSTO