Press statement following the CSTO Collective Security Council summit 2013-09-23 16:50:00 Sochi President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, We have just ended this latest summit of the CSTO Collective Security Council, at which we discussed the progress made in implementing the decisions taken at the December session in Moscow and the informal summit in Bishkek in May this year. We have adopted a communiqué following our meeting. It sets out our assessment of the work the organisation has done in foreign policy, military cooperation, and responding to modern threats and challenges. We are happy with the way the CSTO is developing its military component. The work on improving the collective security forces’ combat readiness is proceeding very intensively. In September-October this year, we will hold three big exercises: Grom-2013 in Kyrgyzstan on September 20, Interaction-2013 in Belarus on September 19–25, and Unbreakable Brotherhood-2013 in Russia on October 7–11. The regular CSTO operations to combat drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and crimes in the information area are effective instruments in fighting modern challenges. We place great importance on the Activity plan we approved today for carrying out The CSTO’s main military cooperation priorities through to 2020. Today’s meeting made decisions on organisational, administrative and financial aspects of the CSTO’s work and approved its budget for 2014. We discussed the situation in Afghanistan in light of the international coalition’s troop withdrawal planned for 2014. Unfortunately, there is reason to expect a considerable rise in Afghan drug trafficking activity and in terrorist groups’ activeness. Extremists are already attempting to spread their activity into neighbouring countries, including the Central Asian countries that are CSTO members. We will take into account all possible development scenarios, take preventive measures, and provide additional collective assistance to Tajikistan to reinforce its national border with Afghanistan. We agreed to draft a targeted interstate programme for equipping this section of the border. We gave much attention to the Syrian crisis too. The CSTO member countries are unanimous in saying that we need to settle the situation in Syria exclusively through peaceful political means. Any military operation would be a gross violation of the norms of international law, an act of aggression, to use the language of the UN Charter. Such a development of events would inevitably further destabilise the situation in Syria itself and in the Middle East in general and would have a negative effect on the region under our organisation’s zone of responsibility. Russia is grateful to its CSTO partners for their support of our efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis and for supporting the Russian-US proposals regarding Syria’s chemical weapons. It is very important to use every possibility we have to try to stop the violence and get dialogue going between the authorities and the opposition. This consolidated position is reflected in the CSTO member countries’ Statement on Syria, which was approved today. This session marked the CSTO’s chairmanship passing from Kyrgyzstan to Russia, which will chair the organisation until the Collective Security Council’s next summit in 2014. We presented to our partners the priorities for our chairmanship, which aim to make the organisation’s work more effective. The planned measures include strengthening security on the external borders in the organisation’s zone of responsibility, and improving the collective forces’ operational and combat readiness. We also propose concentrating on training the CSTO peacekeeping contingents and also on combating drug trafficking, and preventing propaganda of terrorism and religious extremism. We think it important too, to develop further foreign policy coordination between the CSTO member countries. I am sure that the exchange of views we had today and the agreements we reached will make a big contribution to guaranteeing security and stability in the CSTO’s zone of responsibility. I want to thank once more everyone who took part in today’s meeting for their constructive and productive work. We had a very intensive, interesting and frank exchange of views. Thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.