President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Nikolay Nikolayevich, just recently, at the end of December last year, the leaders of the countries in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) held an informal meeting [meeting of the Presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia on December 19, 2008, in Borovoye, Kazakhstan], and we decided then to organise an extraordinary session of the CSTO on February 4, in Moscow. How are preparations for this meeting going?
Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation Nikolay Bordyuzha: We have made serious progress on the concept for implementing the political decisions taken at Borovoye regarding the creation of the CSTO rapid reaction force.
This work has involved meetings with all of the countries. Top-level consultations have taken place between the ministries of defence, internal affairs, emergency situations, the security agencies, and the Security Council secretaries.
I had a meeting with President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, chairman of the Collective Security Council, at which we settled on the concept for this force’s creation.
Today, we are making three fundamental principles the cornerstone of this force. First, it must be mobile. Second, it must be universal: that is to say, it has to be able to respond to all kinds of crises, not only military crises. This was at the foundation of the decisions you took. This also involves, of course, setting up a coordination centre to monitor the force’s state of combat readiness, equipment needs, and organise joint battle training.
Third, and probably one of the most important aspects, is the need for changes to national legislation so as to make it possible for the force to be used in an emergency situation on the basis of a decision by the Collective Security Council, that is to say, a decision taken immediately by the Council of Heads of State in response to this or that crisis situation.
Based on these principles, we have drawn up a draft decision, held consultations at the deputy ministers level, and have drafted a joint document. There are still points regarding the conceptual approach that remain to be cleared. Consultations will take place tomorrow at the level of the deputy ministers of the CSTO member states’ defence and security agencies, at which we hope to complete the approval procedures.
As we see it, the force will comprise mobile units and mobile air units from our Armed Forces. It will also include special force units from our interior ministries, security agencies, and emergency situations ministries. We also need to establish a common command centre that will be responsible for the command of this force.
Dmitry Medvedev: These matters still await final approval by the heads of states. We now have the concept and that is the main thing. Now let us discuss some of the details.