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CSTO Accepts Uzbekistan's Withdrawal


Russian President Vladimir Putin (foreground) and his Belarusian counterpart, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, at the CSTO summit in Moscow
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says member countries of the Collective Treaty Security Organization (CSTO) have accepted Uzbekistan's decision to suspend its membership.

Lukashenka made the statement in Moscow at a summit of the the regional security group.

In June, Uzbekistan suspended its membership in the organization, which now consists of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Lukashenka said, however, that "there will be no easy terms" for Uzbekistan if it wants to rejoin the group at a later date.

Officials said the December 19 meeting would also discuss the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of most international forces in 2014.

During the summit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement that Russian-led alliances represent an attempt to "re-Sovietize" the Eurasian region.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, AP, and Interfax