On July 4, 2019, the Multimedia Press Conference of the Acting Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Valery Semerikov "On the results of meetings of the CSTO statutory bodies held in Bishkek and on the results of special operations conducted in the format of the Organization" (with video connection of press centers in Yerevan, Minsk, Nur-Sultan and Bishkek) was held at the Russia-Today International Press Center.
In an interview with TASS, the Acting Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Valery Semerikov told about the main achievements of the organization in recent years and the challenges facing the CSTO
In his 65th anniversary, the Acting Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) spoke in an interview with TASS on the main achievements of the organization lately, the tasks now facing the CSTO. And also about when the new CSTO Secretary General will be appointed and about his plans for the future.
— Valery Anatolyevich, tell us about the main events that occurred within the CSTO during your work in the organization.
— It should be noted that since the establishment of the CSTO, a great deal of work has been done to create a comprehensive collective security system for the member states of our organization. An appropriate legal and regulatory framework has been created for the functioning of executive, subsidiary, and working bodies. Regional groupings of forces and means have been formed, collective forces such as Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CRRF), Peacekeeping forces, Collective Aviation Forces (CAF), Collective Rapid Deployment Forces of the Central Asian region (CRDF CAR) have been created. The issues of interaction in various areas of activity with international and regional organizations, such as the UN, OSCE, CIS, SCO and others, have been worked out. This is paid a lot of attention from the foreign ministers of our states.
— What tasks does the CSTO implement now?
— The first is closer and more effective coordination of the foreign policy activities of our states. The second is to increase the combat potential of the CSTO Collective Forces. The third is the creation of a system of rapid response to crisis situations, including emergency situations of a natural and man-made nature.
In 2016, we stepped up efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. The impetus for this was the relevant decision of the CSTO Collective Security Council on this issue. I reported to the the Committee of Secretaries of the Security Council on the implementation of this decision, which met on June 27 in Bishkek. The Secretaries of the Security Councils of our states generally approved the work done and expressed their proposals for its improvement in the CSTO format.
In the context of the question raised, I want to say that this year for the first time we carried out a set of joint operational and preventive measures to block the recruitment, entry and exit channels of citizens of our states in order to participate in terrorist activities and neutralize the resource base of terrorist organizations in the CSTO space.
— Can you tell us about the results of the operation "Mercenary" ("Naemnik")?
— Now we are analyzing the information received from our national staffs for the operation, so I will not get ahead of ourselves in terms of concrete figures, but I can say with confidence that this operation has shown its effectiveness, relevance and timeliness.
During the operation, members of terrorist and extremist organizations that conscripted the recruits to the ranks of international terrorist organizations were identified, the exit and entry into the territory of our states of a large number of persons involved in terrorist activities was stopped, and many facts were revealed in the financing of terrorism.
— What other important events have occurred in the CSTO lately?
— Last year at the session of the Collective Security Council in Astana, the Heads of our states made a very important decision on the creation of the Institute of Partnership and Observation at the CSTO. They identified the appropriate mechanism for the formation of such an institution on the basis of the regulatory legal framework, which is held in the CSTO member states ratification procedures.
An important event was the creation of the CSTO Crisis Response Center, the approval of its structure and the Regulations on its operation, since this Center is the basis of our crisis response system in terms of analyzing the situation, developing and making decisions on rapid response to crisis situations.
It should be noted that we are now engaged in the implementation of the Roadmap for integrating the CSTO Peacekeeping forces into the overall system of UN peacekeeping activities.
Proposals for the development of a Target program to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan border are at the final stage of coordination. After approval by the Collective Security Council, we will begin implementation of a set of measures aimed at reducing tensions in the Tajik-Afghan border area.
— Is it planned to strengthen the air force combat aircraft?
— At the meeting of the Military Committee, which took place on June 21, this issue was discussed, but a unified approach was not worked out, so we will study this issue further. From my point of view, today there is no need to include combat aviation units in the Collective Aviation Forces of the CSTO, as they are part of the CSTO CRRF.
— How do you assess the position of the CSTO in the international arena?
— I must say that today the voice of the CSTO is heard from all the rostrums of international organizations such as the UN, OSCE, CIS, SCO. We are participants in many events held in the format of the UN and the OSCE, where we have the opportunity to express our position on a particular agenda issue, make suggestions and make joint political statements at various levels.
In 2018, 18 statements were made at the level of the Collective Security Council, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CSTO and representatives of the CSTO member states to the UN and to the OSCE. In all statements, the position of our states on this or that problem and upholding the interests of our states was clearly stated.
At the last meeting of the CSTO Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Open appeal of the ministers of foreign affairs of the CSTO member states to the ministers of foreign Affairs of the NATO countries was adopted, where we clearly stated our position on the need to increase confidence-building measures in relations and joint work in many areas both in the military field and in issues of countering challenges and threats: the fight against drugs, illegal migration, terrorism. This appeal will be communicated to the foreign ministers of the North Atlantic bloc. Let's wait for their reaction to our proposals.
The image of our organization in the international arena is evidenced by the fact that the potential of our peacekeeping forces is demanded by the UN, a large number of third countries participate in our special operations against drugs, including USA, France, Germany, China and many others.
— The first joint CSTO and OSCE conference on terrorism is scheduled for the fall. Tell us how the preparation goes.
We have agreements with the OSCE Secretary General to hold a joint conference on combating terrorism, extremism and other challenges and threats in Moscow this October.
We plan to invite to the conference almost all regional international organizations, representatives of third countries. We intend to hold a serious discussion of issues related to the role and place of regional organizations in the general system of combating terrorism and extremism. I think this will be a good contribution to the creation of a broad anti-terrorist coalition under the auspices of the UN. Now we are coordinating organizational issues with the OSCE and the UN.
— When will the CSTO Secretary General be appointed?
— Today I can say with some confidence that the issue of appointing the Secretary General from January 1, 2020 has been agreed. The decision was signed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CSTO countries, they approved the candidacy of the representative of Belarus Stanislav Zas to be appointed Secretary General of the CSTO. It remains to wait for the signing of the decision of the CSTO Collective Security Council on this issue, since only the Council decides on the appointment of a secretary general. As soon as this happens, we will inform the media of our states.
— What are your future plans?
— To fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to me, to strengthen the potential of the CSTO by implementing the decisions of the Collective Security Council aimed at these goals.
Interviewed by Milena Sineva