On 16 February 2024, the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov met with the Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Murat Nurtleu in Astana. The parties exchanged views on the forthcoming events planned within the framework of Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the CSTO this year.
On 14 February 2024, the CSTO Secretariat hosted an educational seminar (coaching session) on the theme: "Topical issues of Eurasian security", which was attended by heads of departments and experts of the CSTO Secretariat, representatives of the scientific community, as well as students and postgraduates of political science departments of leading Russian universities, including winners of the A.E. Snesarev Prize in Geopolitics and Military Science.
On 14 February 2024, Chief of the Joint Staff of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Colonel-General Andrei Nikolayevich Serdyukov, held a briefing on the subject: "Main tasks of joint training of the CSTO collective security system's command and control bodies and formations of forces and means for 2024". Representatives of the press services of the defense departments and mass media of the CSTO member states took part in the event via videoconferencing.
On 7 February, participants in a meeting of the chairmen of the committees (commissions) of the parliaments of the CSTO member states, with jurisdiction over international relations, defense and security issues visited the CSTO Joint Staff.
On 7 February, the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov met with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting with foreign ministers of the CSTO member states20.06.2023
The President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting with foreign ministers of the CSTO member states on June 20.
The Head of state noted that now was a very difficult time for the organization and required the maximum mobilization of forces, experience and resources for the maintaining peace. And in preparation for the meeting he thought about what to say, because a lot has already been voiced recently at meetings with the heads of the CIS special services and secretaries of the CSTO councils.
Assessing the CSTO activities, Alexander Lukashenko noted that the organization was sometimes rightly criticized for the lack of solutions to specific problems. For example, the Kyrgyz Republic has long been asking for help in resolving the conflict on the border with Tajikistan. Justified claims are made by Armenia. "I will say that there are problems. And very serious problems. If we do not solve these problems, we will reproach each other all the time, express dissatisfaction with the functioning of the organization as a whole. Problems exist in order to solve them. So, no matter how we twist and turn, we have to be immersed in the problems that the CSTO member Armenia and the CSTO members Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are solving today," the Head of state said.
"There are problems, there are tasks, they must be solved, no matter how difficult and complex they may be. But we sometimes get ... Based on the fact that decisions are made by consensus, but sometimes we bypass them because of the complexity of the problems, we do not want to solve them," Alexander Lukashenko said. This, in turn, causes discontent among individual countries.
"Why am I talking about this at our meeting? Without you in our organizations (neither in the EAEU nor in the CSTO) not a single decision is made. It is your bread and butter - to study the problem in depth, to involve the necessary services (in the examples I spoke about - the military and special services), to work out the issue and make proposals for a decision at the level of heads of state. This is the main thing. And I see this as the main problem of the CSTO functioning year after year," the President explained.
"It is necessary to solve the issues that are no longer just standing in certain states, but that are already crying out. Without you, no one will even begin to solve these issues. This is your huge role, in my view," Alexander Lukashenko continued. - Let's put these issues on the agenda and solve them. If we help resolve the conflict on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border, if we start solving this issue, they will be grateful to us. People will stop dying, and these countries will always be grateful to us”. The same applies to the most difficult problem of Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"The danger is that if our 'friends-advisers' from the West get in there (and you see that they are trying to get in by all means), it will be difficult for us to solve these tasks. These critical matters are set forth in the documents of the CSTO during Belarus' presidency in the organization, and all the stated tasks have to be fulfilled," the President said.
As the Head of the state noted, the CSTO had formed zones of responsibility during its existence. "On the western flank of the CSTO, if I may say so, real military threats to security have formed, unfortunately for us and for Russia (because it is our area of responsibility). They are very serious, more serious than anywhere else. There is uneasiness in the Transcaucasus and Central Asia (it will get worse)," Alexander Lukashenko said.
In this regard, the President mentioned a recent meeting with the head of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, where they discussed, among other things, potential threats, because this country's neighbors are strong, powerful, and their interests are enormous.
"Full-scale hybrid wars have been unleashed against sovereign countries that do not follow the instructions of the West," the Head of state pointed out. - We have all lived through it. Sometimes we don't draw conclusions from what we've lived through, and we start stepping on old rake in a new way”.
"The current situation in the world leaves us no doubt that we have to stick together," the Belarusian leader said. He is convinced that there is no reason to rush in deciding to leave any of the integration associations, as it was done by Ukraine or Georgia with their membership in the CIS. "The example of Georgia. You see a certain change in their policy: they have had enough of Western promises and other things and want to come back to our market again, because no one will let you with milk, meat or wine on their markets. Markets have long been divided and there is a tough fight for them. And that's the second reason why we have to stick together. It's our developed market. If they offer something abroad, it means in exchange for resources (if you give us your resources, we will support you) or for some policy (if you run after us and support the policy they pursue)," the Head of state explained.
"We shouldn't rush, make things worse for each other and try to somehow get away from each other. We have to stick together, especially in these difficult times. And the point here is not that the main core of our organization - Russia - is in a difficult situation. Russia is a part, an element of everything that is happening in the world," Alexander Lukashenko said. According to him, there are problems of global significance in the region of Africa, between China and Taiwan, between the U.S. and Europe. "The Americans have divide Europe, and now we need to keep it in check. And they, the Europeans, reproach you (the CSTO countries. - Note), including me, that we are losing our sovereignty here and so on. God be with you! You lost it long ago. How can you evaluate and how can you treat the fact that they have turned down cheap energy resources from Russia, and now take 3-5 times as much? What is this? And they blame someone for the loss of sovereignty! What sovereignty? On a global scale there is a fierce fight, a battle. There's no telling what the end will be," Alexander Lukashenko said.
"In this large-scale confrontation we have to save our own, at least keep our own," the Head of state stressed.
"And we don't escalate the situation even in these sanctions times," he continued. - Somehow we are united with Russia together. You see: both Russia has not collapsed, and we have not collapsed”. Alexander Lukashenko stressed that both countries had finally returned to their own technologies against the backdrop of external pressure and were implementing a set of import substitution measures.
"Let's not lose this. You won't find anything outside of our (post-Soviet) space - my point of view," the Head of state said.
"Each of you represents your own country - a distinctive, independent country with its own national characteristics and rich history. But we all share a common past. Some 30 years ago we were one state. We defended our common motherland together," the President reminded. On the eve of another anniversary of the Great Patriotic War (in two days there will be the 82nd anniversary since its beginning), he noted the heroic contribution of the peoples of these countries to the Great Victory and the subsequent recovery of the then united country from the ruins. "Belarus is an example of that. All of us together defended the Soviet Union, including Belarus, and all together our peoples, hungry, bleeding, stripped, came to help rebuild Belarus, because everything was burned, destroyed and ruined, every third citizen of Belarus was destroyed," Alexander Lukashenko said.
"We have a common present, which is formed by you and me. The successful work of integration associations in the post-Soviet space is proof of that. Assessing the rich international agenda in our area of responsibility, I am sure that we also have a common future, which again depends only on us," the Belarusian leader said.
Speaking about the work of integration associations in the post-Soviet space, the Head of state cited a number of positive examples. For example, at the last meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow, the issues of integration processes, the creation of alternative payment systems, and the development of transport infrastructure were discussed. The decision to launch a co-financing mechanism for industrial cooperation projects within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Commission is also in line with this. According to the President, this is an important step in strengthening economic and trade industrial sovereignty.
"We need to understand that we will be pressured. Even if the conflict in Ukraine ends, they will not leave us alone. We need to work out a common plan of our actions, let me call it, first of all in the economy. This plan should unite and consolidate all of us," the Belarusian leader suggested.
One of the main goals of this plan should be to move away from dependence on imported products. "We, let's count, are in isolation, like the Soviet Union. But we must survive, we must determine what we can produce at home (we can produce almost everything, 90 percent), and we will somehow buy 10 percent until we move away from dependence on imports," the Head of state specified.
"And that everyone sees himself in this plan," Alexander Lukashenko said. According to him, Belarus and Russia in the bilateral track have already come close to developing such a plan and intend to implement it. "I think we are not far off with the Russian President to make this plan for two. Of course, we will not have 90% self-sufficiency, but let it be 80%. We have no other way. Just floundering, wobbling from side to side and hoping that someone will come to us again, create something, and then leave - we don't have time for that," the President said.
"In the CIS we have the widest range of interaction - from humanitarian issues to interregional and cross-border cooperation and inter-parliamentary ties, Alexander Lukashenko continued. - The CSTO, in turn, as a guarantor of stability and security of our countries and the Eurasian region as a whole cannot lag behind”.
The President considers the close ties of the CSTO countries in the political, military, economic, social and other spheres to be a guarantee of lasting peace between them and the basis of their unity in the international arena. "Today it is difficult to say what the world order will be. However, it is obvious that only those who remain united will be able to go through this difficult stage with the least amount of turmoil. That is why we are increasingly talking about the need for greater integration within our organization," the Belarusian leader stressed.
"Solidarity, unity and cooperation are at the heart of the concept of our chairmanship in the CSTO," the Head of state pointed out. He expressed his gratitude to the member countries of the organization for their support of the priorities of the Belarusian presidency in the CSTO, which, as the President is sure, meet the common interests.
"We proceed from the fact that today the most important direction is the settlement of crises in the CSTO area. If assistance is required from Belarus, and in this case our initiatives, it will be there. We will do anything in order to restore and strengthen trust between our partners," Alexander Lukashenko stressed. - The CSTO is neither an aggressive nor an offensive military-political bloc. It is an organization of an exclusively defensive nature with a constructive and unifying agenda”.
"We should deepen interaction between the CSTO and other organizations: the UN, the SCO," the Belarusian leader said.
The President recalled that in July, the SCO presidency would pass to the Republic of Kazakhstan, which would chair the CSTO in 2024. "An interesting configuration is emerging. This is a good opportunity to ensure effective synergy between the two organizations. Kazakhstan has enough expertise and experience to benefit from this single presidency," he said.
"We need to speak more often on behalf of the CSTO on international platforms to make this voice heard. Of course, they don't want to hear us on purpose. We are like a bone in someone's throat - either to NATO, or to the European Union, or to the Americans together with them. Nevertheless, our voice as a military-political bloc should be heard," Alexander Lukashenko said.
Another aspect highlighted by the Head of state was the need to build up the information and analytical capacity of the CSTO. "However, we haven't seen any serious results yet," the Belarusian leader stated. - There is nothing impeding us. I think you could look for an answer to this question at today's council (CSTO Ministerial Council meeting - note)”.
"Today we are all in the combat zone of information and psychological operations, we especially feel it, including Russia has felt it recently. And so have you. We will not get away from this. We have to learn to step up our efforts in the information and analytical field and in cooperation with the media," Alexander Lukashenko stressed.
The President is convinced that the level of analysis and forecasting needs to be increased in order to feed the member countries and heads of state with serious materials, including those of forecasting nature. "As for the provision of information, we have no problems at all in cooperation with you (not only with Russia - we have joint actions here in general)," he noted. - Any information, which concerns your states - we have this law - we send either to the presidents, or to the foreign ministries, or to the special services. We will continue to do so”.
"Today, the aggressive hysteria, especially in the West, drowns out (so far) the voices of wisdom and reason. They do not want to hear the initiatives, including Belarus, to restore confidence and strengthen regional and international security," the Belarusian leader said.
"We must not rely only on the fact that common sense will prevail. We must not relax, and all efforts should be aimed at strengthening and further progressive development of our organization," the President stressed. - I am absolutely convinced that the collective diplomatic voice of the CSTO will make a weighty contribution to the restoration of peace and security in the region.
Alexander Lukashenko expressed confidence that these and other important issues would be reflected in the agenda of the summit of the CSTO heads of states to be held in autumn in Minsk.