23:57 GMT +318 November 2019
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    OSCE plans cooperation with post-Soviet security group

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    The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is interested in cooperation with the regional post-Soviet security group to fight terrorism and human trafficking, an OSCE official said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is interested in cooperation with the regional post-Soviet security group to fight terrorism and human trafficking, an OSCE official said Tuesday.

    Herbert Salber, the director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, said OSCE hopes for a broader cooperation with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the fight against new threats and challenges, including terrorism and human trafficking.

    CSTO members - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - use the organization as a platform for fighting drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime, and have pledged to provide immediate military assistance to each other in the event of an attack. The bloc has a Collective Rapid Reaction Force deployed in Central Asia, and is continuing to build up its military forces.

    Salber said that since the CSTO and OSCE view the issue of adjusting to new realities and threats as a crucial one, then the organizations have a good platform for cooperation.

    Nikolai Bordyuzha, the CSTO Secretary General, said earlier Tuesday that the organization should expand its functional capabilities and assume the status of an international organization.

    "The expansion of the CSTO functional capabilities and assumption of a status of an international organization will provide for an adequate response to threats and challenges," Bordyuzha said.

    He added that currently the CSTO members are drafting an agreement to provide immediate military and technical assistance to one another in the event of an attack.

    "We are working on the formation of a united military system within the framework of the CSTO, particularly an air defense system," he said.

    Although the CSTO is widely viewed as a post-Soviet instrument for preventing NATO's further eastward expansion and to keep CIS countries under Russia's military protection, Sergei Ivanov, the Russian first deputy prime minister and former defense minister, proposed NATO earlier this month to join efforts with the CSTO to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.

    "We will of course never deploy our servicemen there, but everything else is open for discussion. This includes our efforts to alleviate Afghanistan's debt to Russia," Ivanov said.

    Afghanistan has regained its position as the world's top drug producer since U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban in 2001. Illegal drug production and trade is the only source of income for many in the war-torn southwest Asian nation, and is a major source of financing for Islamist militants.

    Ivanov said: "Involving the CSTO in the process could be considered an additional factor in tackling the Afghan drug threat. But so far we have failed to cooperate in this area."

    Two CSTO members, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, share borders with Afghanistan and are major trafficking routes for drug smugglers from the country. Heroin and other drugs from Afghanistan have also flooded Russia and other ex-Soviet states since the 1990s.

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