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Speech at the CSTO Collective Security Council meeting in expanded format

September 23, 2013, Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

We have just held our meeting in narrow format. We decided that during this expanded format meeting I would brief you on the CSTO’s work priorities during Russia’s chairmanship of the organisation, which has been handed to Russia by our Kyrgyzstani friends. Mr Bordyuzha [Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO)] will then brief us on the final documents that we will sign.

Since 2010, it has been the practice for the country that is taking over the organisation’s chairmanship to set out its vision of the CSTO’s main priorities.

Let me mention the following main areas.

First, we think it important to reinforce the external borders in the CSTO’s region of responsibility. We need to improve our practical action mechanisms for minimising risks for each of the CSTO member countries. As we discussed in detail during the meeting in narrow format, the biggest risk is the problems linked to Afghanistan. 

In this area, as I said and we discussed just before, we will take a pre-emptive approach and work together to help Tajikistan to equip its border with Afghanistan. 

Our second priority is to continue developing military cooperation. The objectives for our work in this area were fixed in the documents we approved at the December session, concerning the main areas for developing our countries’ military cooperation through to 2020.

We must continue improving our collective forces’ command. In this respect, the recently established military committee, made up of our chiefs of general staff, has a big part to play. We need to pay particular attention to the rapid reaction collective force. 

We hope that the Interaction-2013 joint exercises underway in Belarus will help to make the Collective Rapid Reaction Force more effective and improve its coordination.

Building up our peacekeeping forces’ capability is also of vital importance. We are sure that the Unbreakable Brotherhood-2013 exercises that will take place at the Chebarkul test ground in Chelyabinsk Region in October will mark an important stage in terms of preparing the CSTO contingent for taking part in peacekeeping operations. 

We will pay great attention to cooperation in countering modern threats and challenges. We have planned an active series of measures to combat drug trafficking. They include above all the regional anti-drug trafficking operation Channel and getting observer countries involved in its work too. The CSTO also has a big part to play in preventing propaganda of terrorism and religious extremism.

In foreign policy, we will work to improve coordination between the member countries on international and regional security issues. We have already made a good start in this area by approving in 2011 the collective instructions for CSTO member countries’ representatives in international organisations, which were updated last year. We think it an important principle that in setting our policy lines on this or that issue, the CSTO countries should be guided by their commitments as allies and take into account their partners’ views.

The CSTO must actively work together with other organisations involved in regional security issues, above all the CIS and the SCO. It is also in our common interest to expand constructive cooperation between the CSTO and the UN on peacekeeping and security matters. We have a legal basis for this cooperation in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in September 2012 between the CSTO secretariat and UN’s peacekeeping operations department.

Friends and colleagues, these are the priorities and main areas of work for Russia’s period chairing the CSTO. We hope that with your active support we will be successful in carrying them out.

Thank you very much for your attention.

September 23, 2013, Sochi