Lavrov believes that a number of CSTO tasks may evoke interest in the Central Asian countries

Lavrov believes that a number of CSTO tasks may evoke interest in the Central Asian countries

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told at a press conference in Moscow about efforts on enlargement of the CSTO by granting new statuses – of Partner and Observer states. The correspondent of reported this.

“These decisions (on granting the status of CSTO Partner and CSTO Observer) were adopted and signed by the heads of state at the summit in Kazakhstan almost two years ago. They require ratification. Now, all signatories with the exception of Tajikistan that still has to finish some procedures have completed the process of ratification. When this is done, the decision will enter into force immediately and it will be possible to grant these statuses,” he said.

According to Lavrov, during a CSTO Foreign Ministers Council meeting held on May 26, the countries discussed this issue. It was confirmed that this would be done on the basis of consensus with consideration for each country’s interests and the added value that partners and observers can bring to the CSTO.

As he said, “tasks like the need to counter terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime are bound to evoke interest in the Central Asian countries that are not CSTO members.”

“We will start reviewing potential candidates as soon as the ratification process is over,” Lavrov noted.

In this case, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry refers Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, since only these two Central Asian states are not members of the CSTO. Since 2012, Uzbekistan suspended its membership in the CSTO. As for Turkmenistan, in accordance with its neutral status, Ashgabat neither is a member of military-political treaties and alliances, nor deploy military bases of such organizations and foreign states on its territory. At the same time, Ashgabat stands for the broad international cooperation to tackle terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a regional international organization. According to its charter, the purposes of the Organization are “to strengthen peace and international and regional security and stability and to ensure the collective defense of the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the member States”. The CSTO member States are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.