22 May 201917:53

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions on the sidelines of the CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, Bishkek, May 22, 2019

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A meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) under Kyrgyzstan’s chairmanship was held in Bishkek. This was a productive meeting. I would like to mention a number of agreements that were devoted to celebrations of the anniversaries of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and World War II. The participants approved, in particular, a statement on Belarus’ liberation from the Nazi invaders and coordinated steps on memorable dates that will be marked in the next few months, up to the main event on May 9, 2020.

The CSTO member states adopted a fairly important statement inviting NATO countries to seriously consider specific measures on deescalating tensions in the Euro-Atlantic area and Eurasia. They have specific proposals. Let’s hope the NATO countries will treat them seriously and respond.

We agreed to promote foreign policy coordination and approved a list of foreign ministry consultations for the next year. We also endorsed a fairly long list of joint statements for international organisations, like the UN and the OSCE.

The participants paid much attention to enhancing the effectiveness of counter-terrorism efforts, primarily, in view of threats coming from Afghanistan. They adopted additional proposals on consolidating the security of the Afghan-Tajik border area, primarily, improving the ability of our Tajik allies to repel terrorist threats.

A separate document provides for of the CSTO stepping up action to fulfil the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the area of its responsibility.

The participants approved a package of documents submitted for consideration by the heads of state. I believe it is fairly large. It will be further supplemented and presented at the CSTO summit here in Bishkek next November.

Here is a question that drew much interest. It was decided to recommend the heads of state to appoint Secretary of State of Belarus Stanislav Zas as the CSTO Secretary-General starting January 1, 2020, for a three-year term.

To sum up, our work was productive. I hope this will facilitate the further strengthening of cooperation in the CSTO.

Question: When do the CSTO countries plan to establish a united missile defence system?

Sergey Lavrov: We do not plan to establish such a system. We are building a united air defence system. We are working on this now via bilateral channels. The results of these talks will be generalised later in a collective format. I think this won’t take much time.

Question: You said the CSTO states agreed on additional measures to protect the Tajik-Afghan border. Could you be more specific on this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: We have adopted specific decisions. This issue is continuously discussed by the heads of state. There is a special agreement that commits each CSTO member country to contribute to providing equipment for the border forces of the Republic of Tajikistan and upgrading the skills of Tajik border guards. This is a whole package of measures. There is nothing extraordinary about them. This is normal work aimed at training professionals in this field.

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