On 13 November 2023, the XVI meeting of the Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization's Consultative Coordination Centre for Responding to Computer Incidents (CSTO CCC) was held in Moscow, with the participation of leading experts and representatives of the national authorized bodies for Responding to Computer Incidents of the CSTO member states.
A meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council was held in Minsk on 23 November.
The heads of states have discussed in detail current problems of international and regional security and the main results of the activities of the CSTO during the inter-sessional period.
A meeting of the heads of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has begun in Minsk in the narrow format.
On 22 November 2023, in Minsk, a joint meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Council of Defense Ministers and the Committee of Secretaries of the Security Councils of the CSTO was held. Representatives of the Republic of Armenia did not take part in the meeting.
In accordance with the Action Plan for the implementation of the decisions of the November 20-22 session of the CSTO CSC and the fulfilment of the priority areas of the Organization’s activities, two documents relevant to the stabilization of the situation in the South Caucasus have been developed so far under the chairmanship of the Republic of Belarus.
The CSTO Secretariat held a meeting of the Acting Secretary General of the CSTO Valery Semerikov with the leadership of the Secretariat of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly07.02.2019
In May 1992, a number of new independent countries - the former Soviet republics created and signed the “Collective Security Treaty”. Today it includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
Article 4 of the Treaty states the following: “If one of the member states is subjected to aggression (armed attack threatening security, stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty), then this will be considered by the member states as aggression (armed attack threatening security, stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty) to all States parties to this Treaty.
In the event of an aggression (an armed attack threatening security, stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty) to any of the participating States, all other participating States will, at the request of that participating State, immediately provide it with the necessary assistance, including military, as well as support from their disposal of funds in the exercise of the right to collective defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter.
States parties shall promptly notify the United Nations Security Council of measures taken under this article. In implementing these measures, the signatories of the Treaty will adhere to the relevant provisions of the UN Charter. ”
So, from the very first steps of the CSTO member states declared their intention to act in accordance with the UN Charter. This is important to emphasize now, when we present an interview with Acting Secretary General of the CSTO V. Semerikov, who talks about the CSTO cooperation with the UN
- Dear Valery Anatolyevich, taking into account the fact that the CSTO from the very beginning in its basic document put in the forefront the implementation of the norms of international law and the UN Charter, please tell us how you are developing cooperation with the United Nations?
- The cooperation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization with international organizations active in the field of security is an important and integral part of both the conceptual vision and the daily work of the CSTO to ensure reliable security of the states that created the Organization. This is fixed in the CSTO Charter itself (Article 4), it runs through its other fundamental documents, the decisions of its highest body - the Collective Security Council.
The essence of this vision is to provide the CSTO with a weighty, effective role based on international law and enshrined in accordance with its provisions, in establishing a fair, democratic world order that excludes aggression, threats to security and other legal rights and interests of member states. One of the first and natural steps of the Organization after its creation was the registration of the Charter approved on October 7, 2002 at the UN Secretariat. This happened in December 2003, formally securing the legitimacy of the CSTO.
In practical terms, this step allowed the Organization in the next, 2004, to obtain observer status in the UN General Assembly - on the basis of General Assembly resolution No. 59/50 of December 2, 2004. Thus, the first block was laid in the legal foundation of the cooperation of the CSTO with the United Nations - undoubtedly, its main international partner. In a purely legal sense, the CSTO bases its activities on obligations under the UN Charter and decisions of the UN Security Council, in the words opening the preamble of its Charter.
- Thus, we can say that the CSTO considers the UN as the most important link in the process of maintaining international peace and protecting international law? And, in fact, not all large organizations, such as NATO, adhere to this approach.
- When discussing issues of CSTO cooperation with the UN, one should keep in mind that one of the fundamental principles of foreign policy, common to all member states of the Organization, is their recognition of the non-alternative central role that the world organization is called to play in the modern system of international relations.
This is related both to the universality of the UN Charter and the decision-making practice of the Security Council based on its application and, within their competence established by the Charter, by other UN bodies as a source of international law, and to the comprehensive nature of the UN interests, covering almost all pressing world problems.
It is in the course of the functioning of these bodies that coordination of positions and unification of the efforts of the CSTO member states is manifested - in mutual support of foreign policy initiatives on international and regional security issues, harmonization of approaches to issues submitted for discussion at General Assembly sessions, and joint statements.
The latter in the CSTO format are being done more than any other group of states. In particular, they are accepted at the traditional working meetings of the foreign ministers of the CSTO member states “on the margins” of the sessions of the General Assembly shortly after their opening in September of each year. The UN site, in fact, has become one of the main places where CSTO partners make joint statements.
The coordination of positions proceeds continuously through the established mechanisms of regular consultations of the Permanent Representatives of these states to the UN in New York, representatives of specialized structures of diplomatic and other interested departments - alternately in their capitals.
- How does the CSTO interaction system with the UN, if, of course, it is not a secret?
- No, this is not a secret. Returning to the history of the formation of relations between the two organizations, it should be said that the second block of relations between us after receiving the status of an observer was the Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the CSTO and UN Secretariats. It was signed on March 18, 2010 by UN and CSTO Secretaries-General Ban Ki-moon and N.N. Bordyuzhey in Moscow.
It states unequivocally that "the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization share the common understanding that, according to the Charter of the United Nations, the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security lies with the United Nations Security Council."
Further, the document clearly defines the goal of cooperation between the two organizations - “making a significant contribution to addressing emerging challenges and eliminating threats facing the international community,” specifying that these are issues related to “international peace and security, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter Nations ”in a joint Declaration states that it is“ the prevention and resolution of conflicts, the fight against terrorism, transnational crime, the illicit arms trade and Emergency Situations and Responses. ” According to the Declaration, this means operational and practical cooperation on issues of mutual interest, as appropriate, within the framework of UN mechanisms, including “in the field of communication and information exchange”.
It should be noted that the signing of the Declaration preceded, on March 2, 2010, the resolution of the UN General Assembly 64/256 “On cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization” preceded. It is quite consonant with the joint document cited above. However, the range of information taken by the General Assembly on “the CSTO activities for the development of regional cooperation, which contributes to the realization of the goals and principles of the UN”, is somewhat expanded here. Its areas include “strengthening regional security and stability, peacemaking, countering terrorism, combating illicit drug and arms trafficking, countering organized transnational crime and human trafficking, combating natural and man-made disasters.”
The resolution proposes specific mechanisms for dialogue, cooperation and coordination of the UN with the CSTO. These include regular consultations with secretaries-generals using “relevant inter-agency forums and formats”, as well as direct contacts with the CSTO “with specialized United Nations bodies such as the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Counter-Terrorism Committee and Executive Directorate.
- As far as we know, this Resolution, as they say, is “not a dogma,” and it is periodically updated due to the fact that the international situation is developing very rapidly?
- Indeed, there is a practice of updating this resolution, as is the case with other international organizations, every two years, reflecting every time new moments in the cooperation of the two Organizations (signing documents between the CSTO Secretariat and certain UN structures, etc.) and the development of the situation in the world (65/122 of December 13, 2010, 67/6 of November 19, 2012, 69/12 of November 11, 2014). The last resolution “Cooperation between the UN and the CSTO” was adopted by the 71st session of the UNGA on November 18, 2016 (No. 71/12).
In the course of the current, 73rd session, it is planned to adopt a similar resolution once again updated. Its project was previously agreed by the representatives of the CSTO member states and by decision of the Permanent Council of the Organization through the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which at that time chaired the CSTO (since November 2018, it passed to the Kyrgyz Republic), in October 2018 to the UN Secretariat. Reconciliation of the document with the latter continues.
- What other documents, if they exist, connect the CSTO and the UN?
- In addition to this Resolution, the specific interaction between the CSTO and the UN is based on memorandums of understanding between the CSTO Secretariat and the specialized units of the UN Secretariat, which were already mentioned in the first General Assembly’s resolution on this issue cited, these are the UN structures responsible for CSTO Security Directions, Confronting Contemporary Threats and Challenges, such as the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTC) of the Council of Be UN hazard, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and counter-terrorist control (CTS) of the UN Secretariat.
Accordingly, the Memorandum of Understanding with the UNCCD CTC was signed on September 21, 2016, the Protocol of Cooperation between the CSTO Secretariat and UNODC on March 5, 2006, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the CSTO Secretariat - September 28, 2012 and the Memorandum of Cooperation and the interaction between the CSTO Secretariat and the UN KTU - November 9, 2018. There is also a “Memorandum of Understanding between the CSTO Secretariat and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” dated January 17, 2017 and the Protocol on Cooperation between the CSTO Secretariat and the Administration of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The latter was signed on September 19, 2016 during the Summit on Refugees and Migrants in New York, held by the IOM shortly after it became part of the UN system as an affiliate of the UN on July 26, 2006.
The presence of these documents and the advanced interaction with these UN structures allows the CSTO, through the representatives of member states, to regularly and fully participate in the work of the Security Council, GA and their committees, conferences, meetings and meetings organized by departments and departments of the UN Secretariat, where the foundations and criteria for countering international terrorism, drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and the laundering of funds received by the criminal om as well as important aspects of the problems of conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping, refugees and migrants, exchange relevant information and best practices, to argue for the effectiveness of such an important work of international credibility and significantly affect the structure of the solution adopted by the United Nations.
- Which of these events was, in your opinion, a landmark?
- For example, last year’s central event of the kind on the antiterrorist track was the high-level conference of the UN Secretary-General on the theme: “Strengthening international cooperation to combat the changing threat of terrorism” in New York from 28 to 29 June, bringing together the heads of relevant departments of states world as well as leaders of international and regional organizations. The delegation of the CSTO led by me also participated in it.
As another recent example, we can refer to the participation following the signing of a relevant document, named among those listed above, at the invitation of the CTC ID Secretariat representatives as CSTO experts in the CTC delegation’s assessment visits to Tajikistan in February 2017 and Armenia in July 2018.
- Is there a personal relationship between the leaders of the CSTO and the UN? How do they stack up?
- The close working relationship established between the secretaries-general of the two organizations testifies to the recognized status of the CSTO and attention to its positions of the leadership of the world organization: during their tenure as head of the UN Secretariat Ban Ki-moon (2007-2016), their personal meetings were repeatedly held in the fields UNGA and other international sites. Ban Ki-moon participated in the meeting of the CSTO Permanent Council, Secretary General of the CSTO N.N. Bordyuzha (2003-2016) - in meetings in New York of the UN Secretary-General with the leaders of international organizations, he repeatedly spoke at meetings of the UN Security Council. In October - November 2016, an exchange of letters was held between the CSTO Secretary-General and the elected UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in May 2017 - between him and the former General Secretary of the CSTO Yu.G. Khachaturov.
A dialogue is developing through the Department of Political Affairs of the UN Secretariat. Here, the subject of exchange is the various aspects of the situation on the Eurasian continent, issues of early warning, crisis prevention and conflict resolution, the state and prospects of relations between the UN and the CSTO in the field of political cooperation.
In 2018, the central event of this kind was the participation of the delegation of the CSTO Secretariat in the high-level interactive dialogue of the UN Secretary-General with the heads of regional and other organizations, held June 12-13 in his country residence Greenthree Estate near New York. In November, a similar exchange of views was continued with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs R. Di Carlo in the CSTO Secretariat.
The heads of the CSTO Secretariat - the Secretary General and his deputies - participate in the events of the General Assembly sessions, as a rule, of a profile character for the Organization. For example, in 2016, at the special session on the world drug problem and at the UN Summit on the police, in the end of 2018, at the high-level meeting on UN peacekeeping. They meet regularly with deputies and assistants to the UN Secretary-General, who are heads of the already mentioned specialized structural units of its Secretariat and the Security Council. Presentations are made on topical issues of the CSTO activities in countering the terrorist and narcotic threats.
Thus, with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Director of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the past two years, J.-P. Lacroix in New York and Moscow are consistently working on issues of cooperation between the two organizations in peacekeeping. Significant progress has been made in this relatively new and very promising area - the CSTO Secretariat has developed and is implementing the Road Map “Creating the Conditions for Using the CSTO Peacekeeping Potential in the Interests of UN International Peacekeeping Activities (for the period 2017-2020)”. And in November last year, the United Nations Military Adviser for Peacekeeping Operations, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, as an observer, attended the active phase of the exercise with the CSTO Peacekeeping Forces “The Indestructible Brotherhood - 2018” in the Sverdlovsk Region.
The dialogue of the CSTO Secretariat with the KTU established only in the summer of 2017 is actively developing. By now, five meetings of the CSTO Secretary-General, his deputies with the head of the KTU, UN Deputy Secretary-General V.I. Voronkov, the last of which ended with the signing of the relevant Memorandum, as already mentioned above.
- I read that one of your main tasks is the fight against international terrorism. Could you say a few words on this very relevant topic now?
- Of course. It seems quite obvious the importance of CSTO cooperation with the UN through the Monitoring Group under the UN Security Council Taliban / Drugs Committees and Al-Qaida / ISIL (terrorist groups banned in the Russian Federation). The contacts that began in February 2016 made it possible to switch to a regular exchange of information and views on the Afghan issues relevant to ensuring security in the CSTO area of responsibility. Last year, representatives of the Group participated (April 19) in a joint meeting of the Working Group on Afghanistan under the Ministerial Council of the CSTO and the Working Group of Experts on Combating Terrorism and Extremism at the CSCS CSTO.
Also, representatives of the CSTO Secretariat at the expert level regularly participate in the activities of the UNODC in the direction of countering the illegal drug trade. Thus, last year, a representative of the Secretariat was present as an observer at the Second Intersessional Meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the UNP on the International Day against Drug Abuse, held in Vienna from 25 to 26 June.
Representatives of the Secretariat also participated in the conference held in Almaty in March 2018 in the framework of the initiative of UNP and Interpol on the development of inter-network cooperation in combating cross-border drug-related crime and in Vienna again in June in the meeting of the Paris Pact Advisory Group. For their part, representatives of the UNP have traditionally participated in the May phase of the anti-drug operation Canal Cordon in Bishkek and in the meeting of the Coordination Meeting of Chief Narcologists of the CSTO Member States in Almaty in June.
- Perhaps the CSTO with the UN has other topics for cooperation, which we have not yet talked about today?
- Of course! Thus, the CSTO’s cooperation with the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia (UNRCCA) is successfully developing. Representatives of the CSTO Secretariat regularly take part in conferences held by the Center in Tashkent, Ashgabat, etc.
On the other hand, many of the aforementioned and a number of other UN-related specialized structures (the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council and the Task Force on the Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy) took part in the international anti-terrorism meeting held in Moscow on June 16, 2017. leaders of the OSCE, the ATC of the CIS, the RATS SCO and the EAG.
In short, the agenda of the CSTO cooperation with the UN is diverse and relevant for solving its tasks, and the achieved level of mutual understanding ensures the effectiveness of interaction, which makes it possible to consider it a benchmark for relations of the CSTO with international organizations in general.