MOSCOW, January 1. /TASS/. Belarus will chair the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in 2023. When addressing an expanded meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council last November, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko offered the following slogan for the Belarusian chairmanship: “Through solidarity and cooperation to peace and security.”
A little later, the organization’s Secretary General Stanislav Zas pointed to the Belarusian slogan that would be the keynote of Minsk’s chairmanship. According to him, the CSTO seeks to resolve differences between the organization’s members in the short term and prevent destabilization. As for external activities, strengthening the CSTO’s role and importance in the system of international relations will be the organization’s top priority, along with making sure that its activities are fully in line with the current regional and global security situation.
Priorities and goals
Lukashenko described efforts to resolve crisis situations and prevent further destabilization of the situation in the organization's zone of responsibility as the main goal of Belarus’ CSTO chairmanship in 2023. He then explained that as part of the CSTO, Belarus would make “every possible diplomatic effort to ease tensions, reduce conflict potential and increase the level of mutual trust through the joint activities of CSTO members.”
At the same time, Lukashenko emphasized the need to employ anti-crisis mechanisms that did not include the use of military power and means of a collective security system, first and foremost trying to resolve conflicts through so-called soft power, that is, consultations, monitoring and field observations.
In addition, the Belarusian leader stated that during its CSTO chairmanship, Minsk would initiate a number of events involving related government agencies “and possibly inviting other countries and specialized organizations.”
Chairman of the House of Representatives at the Belarusian National Assembly Vladimir Andreichenko stressed later that Belarus saw arranging a global security dialogue and building contact with countries devoted to the peace cause as the priorities of its CSTO chairmanship.
What to expect from Belarus
Russian International Affairs Council Director General Andrey Kortunov expects Belarus to be the most consistent CSTO chair. Minsk will “radically raise issues concerning strengthening the CSTO as a whole.”
“It will concern both defense cooperation and, perhaps, cooperation between intelligence agencies, as well as other aspects of the CSTO’s activities,” he told TASS.
Besides, Minsk’s “geographical security priorities,” which are somewhat different from those of other member states, will make the Belarusian chairmanship special. “For instance, it is the southern border of the former Soviet Union and Afghanistan that are a major headache for the CSTO’s Central Asian members, but for Belarus, it is Europe, namely Ukraine, and, to a certain extent, Poland and the Baltic states,” the expert specified.
All in all, in Kortunov’s words, dramatic changes in the CSTO’s activities are unlikely to be seen. “There are related strategies and long-term plans that no one has canceled. Belarus will probably also include them in its chairmanship agenda,” he concluded.
The CSTO brings together Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Armenia was the organizations’ chair in 2022.