“No prospects” for cooperation between CSTO, NATO

CSTO soldiers on maneuvers (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn
NATO is not interested in joint activities with the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Afghanistan and in other areas, CSTO Secretary General, Nikolay Bordyuzha confirmed on Monday.

­The CSTO is comprised of former Soviet republics, and now independent states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The alliance and NATO face similar challenges, such as terrorism, drugs, illegal immigration, and security issues, Bordyuzha said at a news conference in Moscow on Monday. But the US State Department has instructed its ambassador to NATO “to stop the cooperation and not to develop it at all, the directions and this order have been realized,” he noted. “We should join our efforts, but unfortunately, political disagreements are being put in the forefront rather than mutual efforts to ensure security.”

Bordyuzha described the CSTO as a self-sufficient organization that has to solve a lot of problems. “We have the relevant coordination mechanisms and we have seen results,” he stressed. “And we are not worried that we have no official contacts with NATO.”

The secretary general mentioned the information published by Wikileaks that the US State Department demanded that top NATO officials reject intentions to cooperate with the CSTO.

The whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks reported via Norway’s daily Aftenposten last week that NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was ready to start cooperation in 2009 with the CSTO. However, the US State Department reportedly described the ties with the organization “initiated by Moscow to counter NATO and US influence” as counterproductive, according to a cable dated by September 10, 2009.

At the same time, the cable says that the US was interested in enhancing bilateral relations with Russia. The engagement between the two military organizations “would likely lead to the same bloc-on-bloc dynamic that manifested during the Cold War,” the diplomats stressed. They also worried that Moscow could increase its influence over our Central Asian partners.

Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin commented on the leak by saying that the main principle of US policy is “divide and rule.” Washington sees the CSTO as Moscow’s area of influence, he said, adding that Washington would be striving to hinder its activities on the post-Soviet space.

Even without NATO’s support, the CSTO is ready to strengthen its efforts in the field of security and other areas. The organization’s member states have proposed that the United Nations define the threats coming from Afghanistan, first of all, drug trafficking, as a challenge to international peace.

Afghan drug trafficking should be defined as a threat to peace and security, the secretary general said. This decision would drastically change the attitude to the problem, with all countries having to take “energetic measures to fulfill it.”