Changes in Collective Security Treaty Proposed

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The April 9 consultations of deputy foreign affairs ministers and defense ministers of the member-countries of the Collective Security Treaty (CST) were devoted to the course of CST fulfillment. As Secretary General of the Collective Security Council Valery Nikolayenko told reporters–special attention was paid to issues connected with the military component of the Treaty–which becomes pivotal in conditions of the new geopolitical situation. In particular–the meeting considered the issue of establishing special headquarters of the CST for closer coordination among the three directions within the framework of the Treaty–namely: East-European on the basis of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus–Caucasian – Russia and Armenia–and Central Asian – Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan–Tajikistan.

According to Nikolayenko–major discussions were held around the preparations of the upcoming jubilee session of the CST Council to be held in Moscow on May 14–2002. The meeting of the CST participating states will be preceded by a joint meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Council of Defense Ministers of the CST participating countries. "We want the jubilee to be not an ordinary event but an occasion for solving major issues and making headway to reach a qualitative level of our military-political integration," Nikolayenko said.

The Yerevan meeting also considered the issue of converting the mechanisms and structures of the CST into an Organization of the Collective Security Treaty–which will turn the CST into an international organization corresponding to the UN Charter. According to Nikolayenko–no expansion of the Treaty with the inclusion of new full members is expected.

Speaking about the issue of military cooperation of separate members of the CST-member states with the United States–Nikolayenko pointed out that the states have the right to develop military ties with other states provided they inform their partners about it and act in accordance with the interests of all the countries of the CST. "We have such coordination–and I think that in this case the provisions of the Treaty were observed," said Nikolayenko. He emphasized that all members of the CST participate in the anti-terror coalition and have coordinated positions in this matter. As for the possibility of the appearance of new dividing lines in Central Asia and in the Caucasus in connection with US presence in these regions–according to Nikolayenko–the CST-member states are allies of the United States and other countries of the West in uprooting international terrorism and expect mutual respect of their own interests. "Both Armeniaand Russia have their specific interests in the Caucasus region–and we expect that these interests will be respected and the current balance of forces in the Caucasus will be preserved and strengthened," Nikolayenko said.

Armenia’s Cooperation with Russia within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty is not directed against other countries–including the aspect of possible development of the Abkhazian conflict–Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov said at a press conference after the consultations.

Trubnikov emphasized that the way the Abkhazian conflict is going to be solved concerns mutual relations between Abkhazia and Georgia and mutual relations with the CIS peace-keeping contingent. This contingent–according to Trubnikov–is represented by Russian troops which carry a very heavy burden on their shoulders. Russian troops have so far lost 87 people in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone.

Trubnikov refrained from making predictions about the situation–saying that it’s hypothetical that the situation in the region may become explosive–and the solution is the prerogative of the CIS where the mandate of the peace-keeping forces is determined.

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