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CSTO Holds Informal Summit

  • RFE/RL

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) arrived to a ceremonial welcome in Bishkek on May 28.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) arrived to a ceremonial welcome in Bishkek on May 28.

BISHKEK -- An informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has been held in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.

The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan attended the one-day summit on May 28.

CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said after the talks that the presidents "discussed measures to be taken to minimize the negative impact" after international forces withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

"We made some concrete decisions, including on how to improve the military component and take measures to help the Afghan government ensure the stability of the state," he added.

Bordyuzha said the measures discussed included boosting security at state borders, modernizing the CSTO joint rapid-reaction forces, and joint efforts against extremism and illegal drug trafficking.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the CSTO played a considerable role "in ensuring stability in the zone of its responsibility."

Putin also said that the CSTO member states regularly held joint military drills, mentioning last year's CSTO maneuvers in Armenia and Kazakhstan.

According to the Russian president, the CSTO's Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF) will hold exercises in Belarus and Russia's Chelyabinsk region this year.

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Kyrgyz leader Almazbek Atambaev, who held a separate meeting with Putin before the summit, said he hoped the gathering would have practical results in ensuring security in Central Asia despite its being informal.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon reiterated that it was important for the region to remain stable and safe after the NATO-led troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan next year.

Rahmon is expected to meet Putin separately to discuss bilateral issues.

The four presidents also discussed the construction of a railroad that would connect Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, before moving on to Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and the Persian Gulf.

The CSTO includes Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, and Armenia. Armenia's Serzh Sarkisian and Belarus's Alyaksandr Lukashenka did not attend the summit. The organizers explained their absence by saying the summit focused on Central Asian issues only.

After the summit, Putin will fly to the Kazakh capital Astana where he will attend a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC) on May 29.

The SEEC is the governing body of the Eurasian Customs Union, which was launched in 2011. It currently consists of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Russian officials say the eventual goal is to create a Eurasian economic union modeled after the European Union by 2015.

With reporting by Interfax, ITAR-TASS, amd RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service