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1 December 202016:22

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers, December 1, 2020

2093-01-12-2020

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Colleagues,

I am glad to greet you at the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting.

This meeting completes preparations for the Collective Security Council session that is to take place tomorrow, on December 2, via videoconference. The meeting of the CSTO defence ministers was held earlier with its participants approving a number of documents regarding military ties, including the main document, the CSTO military cooperation plan until 2025.

We propose that we examine the summit’s agenda and exchange views on the international and regional security situation, as well as discuss priority matters related to further strengthening and expanding our all-embracing cooperation.

The key to the CSTO’s effectiveness lies in its commitment to equitable cooperation among all its member states in keeping with the principles and goals set forth in the Collective Security Treaty and the CSTO Charter.

The Collective Security Strategy until 2025 is currently being implemented. This framework document outlines the main development tracks for the CSTO.

We have taken serious steps to improve the cohesion and preparedness of the CSTO’s collective forces to deliver on all kinds of objectives and we have outlined specific steps for countering the terrorist and extremist ideologies.

The CSTO could further expand its capabilities to deliver on these tasks by stepping up its ties with the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Anti-Terrorism Centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Amid mounting cross-border challenges and threats, the CSTO needs to be more agile in adapting to the new environment.

The organisation is fine-tuning its crisis response mechanisms. This was among the priorities of the Russian Chairmanship. The CSTO Crisis Response Centre has been proactive in the context of the pandemic that restricted our ability to engage in direct contacts.

We are in favour of finding new applications for the Collective Forces, including in disaster relief and humanitarian missions. We will work on reinvigorating cooperation among CSTO member states in battlefield medicine and devising approaches to ensuring biological security worthy of a true alliance.

We attach great importance to coordinating international efforts. It is with satisfaction that we note that our countries have been successfully working together in the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and other international forums.

This year, we are marking the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and in World War II. Today, the UN General Assembly is holding a special meeting to commemorate 75 years since the end of World War II. We intend to approve a statement of the CSTO foreign ministers to mark this important date. I am grateful to all my colleagues for their contributions to this important document.

In November 2020, speaking at the Nuremberg Lessons forum, President Vladimir Putin put special emphasis on the legacy of the Nuremberg trials for safeguarding the historical memory and offering a compelling rebuke to those attempting to revise the outcome of World War II or to glorify Nazi criminals.

I would like to mention another important undertaking supported by our respective heads of state. I am referring to selecting candidates that will be granted observer and partner status within the CSTO. Some countries have already expressed their desire to obtain this status. I am certain that moving in this direction will strengthen the organisation and boost its international standing.

We have prepared a package of documents for the summit to strengthen the CSTO’s peacekeeping potential, including the establishment of a base institution for training peacekeepers and the integration of a military mobile hospital into the CSTO Peacekeeping Forces, as well as the creation of a legal framework enabling the collective peacekeeping forces to take part in operations carried out under the auspices of the UN.

I would like to thank all our partners for their contribution to organising a photo exhibition on the contribution by the CSTO countries to international peacekeeping efforts.

We hope that all the allies will remain proactively involved in spreading impartial and unbiased information on the CSTO’s activities within the international community. This is what Russia’s initiative to hold the CSTO Days is all about. This first event took place, albeit in a restricted format due to the coronavirus, in Moscow on October 7, 2020. We hope that Tajikistan will follow up on this undertaking as the next CSTO Chair.

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