President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear colleagues.
I am very glad to see you. Vladimir Borisovich [Rushailo, Russian Security Council Secretary] said that you have already completed your work. I hope that it was a very useful one.
You know that your session is being held in the dramatic days. For the second day now US military actions against Iraq have been going on.
Russia has already stated its position with regard to the military action. I just want to stress: the crisis, in our view, has gone beyond the framework of a local conflict, and it is now a potential source of instability for other regions of the world, including the CIS space.
I reckon that, in this situation, it is the task of regional security organizations, including the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, to minimize the adverse consequences of the military action, to preserve stability in the region and assure the security of our citizens. And what is of the utmost importance – to uphold the unity of the world community in countering terrorism. For the Collective Security Treaty Organisation this struggle is an absolute priority. One of the basic priorities at any rate.
I know that you have already analyzed in detail the situation that has evolved. And as far as the real danger of international terrorism is concerned, the CSTO partners are better aware than many other countries of the true dimensions of this menace.
I think I will express the common opinion: our countries are ready to cooperate substantively with other states and international organizations in the struggle against terrorism.
The military action against Iraq is a decision fraught with hardly predictable consequences, the growth of extremism among them. And we, the participants of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, are duty-bound to take this into account in order to ensure the national interests of our countries and to fight international terrorism effectively.
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Allow me to say a few words on other issues of your agenda.
I know that taking part in the work of your Committee are not only the CST members, but also as observers – the representatives of practically all the CIS nations.
The past year was a landmark one for the development of the CIS as an influential regional organization. We did some serious stocktaking of the Commonwealth's mechanisms, and now in our joint work there's ever more pragmatism, more quite concrete actions.
I consider not only correct, but absolutely called-for the decision to transform the CST into a full-scale regional organization. An organization capable of effectively countering the new security threats. We must now promptly establish effective mechanisms and clearly outline the areas for practical work.
The issue is, specifically, about coordination with the CIS Antiterrorist Centre, as well as a possible use of the Collective Rapid Deployment Forces in antiterrorist operations. It seems to me that the very existence of that centre and the existence of those forces are an essential factor in stabilizing the situation in the region. Also, it is about the proposal of our Kazakhstan colleagues regarding the creation in the Central Asian region of an Anti-drugs Centre.
In Russia, as you certainly know, the Committee for Control of Illicit Drug Trafficking has just been created. One of its objectives is to actively develop international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking. And, of course, in the first place – with our CIS and CSTO partners.
You have also to discuss the draft agreement on the creation of a unified system for assuring the security of the railways of the CSTO member states. I think that this is a very important question.
It is necessary to give thought to solving other problems which arouse concern and present a common interest. I shall name but some of them.
It is necessary to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the antiterrorist laws of our countries. And it wouldn't be bad if we could formulate our proposals for their unification and harmonization. This is particularly important with regard to the themes of the upcoming meeting of presidents of the CSTO member countries in Dushanbe.
In addition, we need to do the stocktaking of the present-day problems in cross-border cooperation. And the staffs of the security councils could assume special control of these themes, for concentrated here are the questions of equipping border facilities and developing the legislation and countering the drug traffic and illegal migration.
And, of course, especially pressing are the problems of fighting transfrontier crime and terrorism. Problems which in these crisis days arouse special concern and anxiety.
Once again I shall stress: effective integration is only good for the interests of our countries. And it can noticeably strengthen both the security of the national states and the space which is the zone of responsibility of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
I am absolutely confident that your activity, the activity of the structures which practically in each of the countries are concerned with coordination of the work of the law enforcement and security sphere will in this sense be extremely important and very called-for.
Thank you for your attention.