In an exclusive commentary to Cronos.Asia, the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov spoke about the progress of the negotiations.


On June 6, 2024, in Almaty, a meeting of the CSTO Committee of Secretaries of Security Council was held under the chairmanship of the Republic of Kazakhstan. During the meeting, the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov made a report on the situation in the CSTO area of responsibility and measures aimed at neutralizing challenges and threats to the security of Collective Security Treaty Organization member states.

Sputnik Armenia reports that the Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that he had excellent relations with CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov.

Interview of the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov to NEWS.ru.

Interview of the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov to NEWS.ru. 16.04.2024

What the CSTO has achieved in 30 years

— Imangali Nurgaliyevich, the Collective Security Treaty entered into force on 20 April 1994. How do you assess the results of the Organisation's work over 30 years? What successes have been achieved over these years?

— Over the three decades of its existence, the CSTO has established itself as an effective system of collective security. Through the efforts of the Organization it has been possible to prevent crises in its area of responsibility. For example, in January 2022, the CSTO peacekeeping forces managed to neutralize a fairly large-scale crisis situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Contingents of the CSTO member states took the most important strategic facilities under guard, freeing up Kazakhstan's resources to deal with the problem. All areas of the Organization’s activities - political and diplomatic, crisis response, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, preventive countering of challenges and threats - are being successfully implemented....

The Organization demonstrates a fairly high level of adaptability: working groups on information policy and information security, a working group on Afghanistan, and an inter-state commission on military-economic cooperation were established. There are various formats aimed at countering the spread of narcotic drugs and illegal migration. The CSTO is also working on the CSTO Special Interstate Policy for strengthening sections of the Tajik-Afghan Border.

Over the years of the existence of the Treaty and the Organization, an extensive command structure and military formations have emerged. In 2001, the Collective Rapid Deployment Forces of the Central Asian Region were established, in 2007, the Peacekeeping Forces were established, and in 2009, the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces were established. Special trainings under various programs take place on a regular basis, and there is a growing level of cooperation between the Organization's member states within the framework of military-technical cooperation and the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly. The 30-year experience of the Organization’s activities has shown that there are no alternatives in post-Soviet Eurasia.

Are there any disagreements between the bloc members

— Today we are seeing some countries reducing their cooperation with Russia under pressure from the West. Does this have any impact on cooperation within the CSTO? Are there any disagreements between the participants on this ground?

— We do not register any clear signs of disagreement among the member states of the Organization in connection with the aggravation of the general geopolitical situation. But this does not mean that we, as an international organization, do not become the target of hybrid attacks. Because the CSTO is based on "soft alliance", i.e. there is no rigid bloc discipline, the allies manage to maintain positive relations with each other despite the considerable pressure exerted to a greater or lesser extent on each of them.

The contradictions that do arise are most often based on long-standing problems and are not the result of Western policy, although the West often manages to give them an impetus to escalate. However, the political will of the leadership of all CSTO member states and their adherence to the principles and statutory objectives of the Organization make it possible to settle and resolve them as effectively as possible.

What does the "freezing" of Armenia's membership mean

— Recently, tensions have arisen in relations between Yerevan and Moscow. In parallel, there are statements that the West is preparing the ground for opening a second front against Russia in the South Caucasus. How do you assess these risks?

— Analysts in the CSTO member states note a tendency to aggravate the situation in the South Caucasus. It is obvious that such risks exist. The greater responsibility lies with the political leadership of the countries of the region, above all to their own peoples. The CSTO Secretariat, for its part, is always ready to tackle the tasks of ensuring security in the region in accordance with the goals of the Organization, the documents signed and the initiatives voiced, as the Secretariat has repeatedly stated.

— The Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced the "freezing" of Yerevan's participation in the Organization. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that it was necessary to clarify the meaning of such statements. Has the Organization received any clarifications from Yerevan? What is the likelihood that Armenia will again participate in the work of the Organization in the near future?

— It should be noted here that the concept of "freezing" is not presented in the CSTO documents, so we will not use it in relation to the current situation.

It is true that Armenia has significantly reduced the volume of its activities as a member of the Organization, but nevertheless, the work continues and all issues on the agenda of the Secretariat are discussed in a working order. The decision on the resumption of the activities in the previous volume depends exclusively on the political leadership of the Republic of Armenia. And clarity in this matter would be to the benefit of all participants of our association, first of all, for full-fledged planning.

— What will the Organization lose if Armenia withdraws from the Organization?

— The issue is not who will lose what. The issue is quite different. Participation in such an alliance is a prerogative. With a reasonable approach, it allows a participant to fully ensure national security. Especially if the geopolitical position of the country is such that challenges and threats are often assessed by local analysts as existential.

Does the CSTO need a mechanism to deal with an attack by one member of the organization on another

— A few years ago, the Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov proposed to develop a mechanism of action in the event of an attack by one member state of the Organization on another. How do you assess the probability of such a scenario? Are any documents on this subject being worked out?

— The proposal by the head of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov came at a time when the border situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border was aggravated. It demonstrated the Kyrgyz leader's high level of concern about the situation in the region. This initiative was quite justified, given the difficulties in resolving the border dispute between the two Central Asian states.

But, as we saw later, the will of the political leadership of the two countries - Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - made it possible not only to start and successfully implement the delimitation of the state border, but also to reach a political solution to the problem designed to permanently eliminate the conflict potential between Dushanbe and Bishkek. The need for the preparation of such a document was virtually eliminated.

Besides, such a development of the situation as an "attack" is extremely unlikely in general. After all, the CSTO member states in their relations strictly follow the Charter, which explicitly prohibits aggressive actions against each other.

Whether CSTO expansion is possible

— In one of your interviews, you did not rule out the expansion of the Organization in the foreseeable future. Which countries could we be talking about?

— We are talking about the widest range of countries showing interest in the Eurasian system of collective security.

The geopolitical situation in Eurasia is currently characterized by instability and may develop in such a way that individual countries will want to enlist the support of strong allies and be able to use their political-diplomatic and, if necessary, military potential to defend their national interests.

What are the CSTO's tasks for the coming years

— Imangali Nurgaliyevich, what are the CSTO's tasks and priorities for the coming years?

— The principles and objectives of the Organization remain unchanged. This year, the CSTO is chaired by the Republic of Kazakhstan. At the November summit of the Organization, Astana presented its list of chairmanship priorities, and they are fully in line with the Organization’s statutory objectives. Thus, this year the Organization’s activities focus on peacekeeping, joint countering of challenges and threats, expanding cooperation through the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization...

At the same time, in its work, the CSTO endeavors to act adequately to the changing politico-military situation in the regions of collective security, which is why we are building up our analytical potential and strengthening our anti-crisis component. Given the large number of internal and external threats to the security of the CSTO member states, we can state that the Organization has great potential for development. In setting short- and medium-term development goals, the CSTO is oriented towards the trends of increasing the responsibility of regional collective security systems and their growing importance in the system of international relations.

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