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Uzbekistan sees no need to rejoin post-Soviet security bloc, says top diplomat

According to the Uzbekistan’s foreign minister, Tashkent believes that a priority task today is to timely fend off pinpointed terrorist challenges and threats

TASHKENT, October 22. /TASS/. Uzbekistan sees no need to restore its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov told Russian reporters on Friday.

"Today we see no need for Uzbekistan to rejoin the CSTO on the belief that there will be some offensive by regiments, armies or divisions towards Central Asia and Uzbekistan. However, threats and challenges from some terrorist organizations that continue operating on the territory of Afghanistan cannot be ruled out," the top diplomat said.

"It is not a matter of designating somehow our accession to the CSTO. It is a matter of how to effectively build our collective cooperation in the security sphere," he pointed out.

The forms of the republic’s interaction with the post-Soviet security bloc may change, depending on the situation, the foreign minister said.

"At least for now we do not see the need for restoring Uzbekistan’s membership in the CSTO. However, active interaction is simultaneously underway with the Russian Federation and neighboring states on security issues to some extent," he pointed out.

Tashkent believes that a priority task today is to timely fend off pinpointed terrorist challenges and threats, Kamilov said.

"In this sense, I believe that [President of Uzbekistan] Shavkat Miromonovich [Mirziyoyev] was absolutely right when he drew attention to the close interaction of our special services, i.e. measures to timely get information, prevent and foil these threats. This should be our task," he stressed.

The CSTO originated from the Collective Security Treaty signed by the heads of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Tashkent on May 15, 1992. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus joined the post-Soviet security bloc in 1993. On April 2, 1999, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan did not sign a protocol on renewing the treaty and quit the organization. These states opted for interaction within the GUUAM bloc (a regional association comprised of Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova, currently called GUAM without Uzbekistan’s participation).

In August 2006, Uzbekistan rejoined the CSTO but again withdrew from the organization in December 2012.