Also participated in the summit President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, and Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation Imangali Tasmagambetov.
A plenary meeting of the CSTO’s Collective Security Council took place following talks in a restricted attendance format. The following Russian officials attended the meeting: Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Belarus Boris Gryzlov.
A package of documents was signed following the summit.
The participants discussed key aspects of the interaction between CSTO members, including further improvement of the collective security system, as well as current international and regional problems.
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President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Colleagues, friends,
Following the established practice of the CSTO, allow me to chair our summit today, as the host.
First of all, welcome to hospitable Belarus. I am sincerely happy to greet all of you in the capital of Belarus, the Hero City of Minsk.
Today’s meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council concludes our Belarusian chairmanship of this organisation. We will officially transfer the functions of the chair to our Kazakh friends on December 31, 2023.
This year was very dynamic in terms of the evolution of the geopolitical situation, and our work schedule was packed. Since this spring, the Republic of Belarus has held CSTO events almost every month, including the meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly Council, intersession meetings of the charter bodies at the ministerial level, and the coordinating meeting of the heads of relevant agencies of the CSTO member states engaged in counteracting transnational threats such as drug trafficking, illegal migration, emergencies, and challenges related to biological security and cybersecurity.
A series of military exercises has been held. Less than a month ago, Minsk hosted a major international conference on Eurasian security, held under the auspices of the Belarusian chairmanship of the CSTO.
In other words, our organisation remains an essential element in ensuring the security of its member states and the Eurasian region in general.
We announced the priorities of the Republic of Belarus’s chairmanship for both domestic and foreign policy at the Collective Security Council session in Yerevan exactly a year ago.
In domestic policy, we were trying to enhance the cohesion of the CSTO members to strengthen the organisation and ensure security and stability in its zone of responsibility. In foreign policy, our goal was to increase the role and importance of the CSTO in the system of international relations.
Today, we can state that in general, Belarus has achieved the objectives mapped out in November 2022. We have already carried out some of the measures and we are still working on others. Individual priorities are long-term and are being studied by both the CSTO member states and the Secretariat.
Naturally, the results of our efforts are a collective success and the credit for them goes to all the parties to the treaty. We would not have been able to fulfil our plans without the support of our friends and partners for the priorities of the Belarusian chairmanship. Therefore, allow me to thank you for your cooperation.
I am convinced that today’s meeting will be no less productive. Its agenda includes urgent international and regional security problems. It is necessary to analyse the main trends of the current military and political developments in the CSTO zone of responsibility, the world as a whole and the region. We must find new solutions to enhance the security of our states. And, of course, we will sum up the results of the CSTO’s performance this year.
As the Chairman, by tradition I would like to declare the meeting open. I suggest holding this CSTO session first in a narrow format to be followed by a plenary meeting.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko, colleagues and friends,
The Belorusian chairmanship and the team of all states taking part in this session have conducted active work throughout the year. This work facilitated the consolidation of our allied ties in the CSTO on the principles of respect, consideration of each other’s interests and support. In this way, the CSTO member-countries in effect promoted the CSTO’s key role as a regional defensive structure responsible for the maintenance of peace and stability in the vast Eurasian space.
Owing to productive interaction between the foreign and defence ministries, security councils and parliaments, we promptly coordinated our positions on urgent political and military-strategic issues and urgent regional and international problems. My colleagues have just talked about this here.
Importantly, this year the CSTO has also developed its contacts with our natural partners, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the CIS.
I would like to make a special mention of our joint efforts to improve the collective rapid deployment forces, aviation and the CSTO peacekeeping forces. A number of measures have been taken to maintain combat readiness, enhance the command and control system and provide more training for military personnel. President Japarov has just spoken about some of these measures. They include exercises code-named Interaction, Search and Echelon in Belarus and the Indestructible Brotherhood peacekeeping manoeuvres in Kyrgyzstan.
We have consistently promoted cooperation between our security services and law enforcement bodies. Notably, the CSTO is continuing its Operation Mercenary aimed at preventing the recruitment of citizens of our countries and blocking the channels of their exit for participation in international terrorist groups.
Of course, I agree with the assessments of our colleagues. As the President of Kazakhstan has just said, our countries, including Russia, do not accept terrorism in any manifestation and in any part of the world.
We implemented together a package of measures on countering extremism, cross-border crime, illegal migration and drug trafficking.
The CSTO Coordination Council on Biological Security has launched its work. It has focused on preventing threats linked with the development and use of biological weapons and ensuring radiation, chemical and medical protection.
The Council is scheduled to have a scheduled meeting in St Petersburg in December.
I would like to mention that the CSTO member countries are expanding their military-technical cooperation. The CSTO Interstate Commission on Military-Economic Cooperation set up at Russia’s initiative is taking an active part in this.
Naturally, it is very important that our joint activities in the CSTO facilitate the cohesion of our states and peoples, and help preserve the memory of our common history and achievements. I am sure that all of us will be preparing for worthy celebrations of the 80th anniversary of our Victory in the Great Patriotic War, in 2025. Next year, 2024, we will observe the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus and 80 years since the lifting of the siege of Leningrad.