MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Uzbekistan has officially suspended its membership in a Russian-led collective security organization, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday.
Uzbekistan announced the suspension of its Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) membership six months ago.
“We have granted their request and halted, suspended [Uzbekistan’s] CSTO membership,” he told an expanded meeting of the CSTO Council in Moscow.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov said Uzbekistan’s withdrawal will not affect bilateral or multilateral efforts in combating terrorism.
Uzbekistan has confirmed its commitment to cooperate with Russia in countering terror, he said.
“Work along these lines will continue,” Bortnikov said.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov said on Tuesday Tashkent is looking for ways to strengthen strategic ties with Moscow despite Uzbekistan's withdrawal from the treaty.
Uzbekistan’s new foreign policy strategy rules out Tashkent’s membership in any military alliances and bans foreign military bases on Uzbek territory.
Uzbekistan previously withdrew from the CSTO in 1999 but then restored its membership in August 2006.