MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Yerevan on Wednesday to participate in a session of the Collective Security Council, the main body of the Moscow-led bloc known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
The summit is expected to be attended by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. The participation of Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who won the November 20 early presidential election by a landslide, is now under question, since his inauguration ceremony is due on November 26.
The Kremlin press service earlier reported that the summit in Yerevan would focus on key cooperation areas within the organization, as well as on important international and regional problems.
Putin is expected to meet with Pashinyan on the sidelines of the event. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the Russian leader "will have an opportunity" to meet with his Belarusian counterpart as well.
The summit will be preceded by foreign and defense ministerial meetings, as well as by a meeting of secretaries of national security councils from the CSTO member states.
Participants of those events are expected to discuss military and political situation in collective security areas, addressing also foreign policy, military and anti-terrorist cooperation within the CSTO and measures to boost the collective security system.
Help to Armenia
The CSTO secretariat said earlier that the leaders would pay special attention to the organization’s crisis response mechanism and joint measures to help Armenia amid the latest tensions on its border with Azerbaijan.
Earlier, Yerevan initiated an emergency CSTO summit, held via a video linkup on October 28. Moreover, Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi hosted in-person talks of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev on October 31.
Armenia expects that participants of Wednesday’s meeting would come up with a clear political assessment of Azerbaijan’s actions at the common border, and adopt a roadmap of restoring the country’s territorial integrity.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is expected to unveil the priorities of his country’s presidency in the organization next year. In addition to that, the Collective Security Council will discuss the issue of CSTO’s secretary-general in the light of the upcoming rotation due on January 1, 2023.
The organization’s current Secretary-General Stanislav Zas said after a meeting with the Belarusian leader in early November that Minsk has put forward a set of "traditionally simple" priorities: the organization should focus on "pressing problems" rather than on "abstract and contrived" matters.
Threats from Afghanistan
The issue of Afghanistan and threats coming from the country remain within the organization’s spotlight. Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon earlier said that terrorist groups from Afghanistan are solidifying their positions in Afghanistan including with the help of advanced digital technologies. In his words, such groups remain a serious threat for the entire region of Central Asia.
At the same time, the government of Tajikistan has repeatedly expressed its concern by the growth of drug trafficking from Afghanistan. According to the country’s prosecutor general’s office, the amount of smuggled Afghan drugs seized in Tajkistan has almost doubled since 2020, reaching four million metric tons.