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MOSCOW, September 23 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin will attend a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Sochi on Monday.
Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists that "There are two items on the agenda that are in this or that way connected with Afghanistan" among the key subjects of discussion at a session of the CSTO'd Collective Security Council (CSC). First, "efforts to strengthen interaction within the CSTO framework with a view to counteracting challenges and threats emanating from Afghanistan, including those from the viewpoint of the forthcoming withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force from that country in 2014".The second item on the agenda deals with the rendering of assistance to Tajikistan in strengthening Tajik-Afghan border.
Participants in the summit will also exchange views on other regional and international problems of current concern. "These include, naturally, a discussion by the leaders of the situation in Syria and around it," Ushakov said. He ponted out that the CSTO member-countries proceed from the assumption that it is possible to settle the Syrian crisis only in a politico-diplomatic way and intend to go ahead with joint efforts in upholding the norms and principles of international law, and the central role of the UN in world affairs.
The presidential aide did not rule it out that as a result of the summit the leaders of CSTO countries would come forward with a joint statement on Syria. "If they agree to expresssing a collective opinion, such a statement will be adopted," the Kremlin official said.
The development of the Organization proper is yet another important segment of the CSTO summit agenda. The leaders are expected to decide on establishing the CSTO's Air Force, on refining the collective forces' control system, and on introducing changes to the Joint Headquarters structure. A CSTO budget for 2014 is to be confirmed as well.
Other matters concerning the implementation of decisions and accords reached at the previous summits are to be also discussed at the upcoming session. A Communique is to be adopted with an assessment of CSTO activities in the spheres of foreign policy, military cooperation, and counteraction to present-day challenges and threats.
As far as a time-table of events at the summit is concerned, at first the leaders are to meet in a narrow format and theb a plenary session is to be held in a broader format. After documents are signed, a press conference of CSTO Secretary-General and RF President Vladimir Putin will be held, to be followed by an official reception in honour of the chief delegates.
During the summit, presidency in the CSTO will pass from Kyrgyzstan to Russia (until next session of the CSTO's CSC in 2014).
A joint meeting of the CSTO Foreign Ministers' Council, the Defence Ministers' Council, and the Committee of Security Councils' Secretaries will be held in Sochi on Monday morning, prior to the commencement of the main proceedings.
"Participants in the (joint) meeting will discuss matters regarding allied interaction within the scope of the Organization, a further refinement of the CSTO collective security system, the development of military potential, and enhancement of foreign policy coordination," an RF Foreign Ministry official said, emphasizing that special attention will be devoted to priorities of Russia's forthcoming presidency in the CSTO, as well as to the implementation of the priorities of Kyrgyzstan's presidency.
The Collective Security Treaty was signed in 1992. The Organization was instituted ten years later, in 2002. At present, the CSTO comprises six countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.