UPDATE - Belarus To Work On Enhancing Unity Among CSTO States During Its Presidency - Lukashenko

YEREVAN (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 24th November, 2022) Enhancement of cooperation between the countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and settlement of disputes among them will be Belarus' main goals during its upcoming presidency of the organization next year, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the CSTO summit started in Yerevan. During the meeting, the leaders discussed topical issues of international and regional security, the improvement of the CSTO crisis response system and joint measures to provide assistance to Armenia.

"These are fundamental goals. On the inner contour, it is enhancing unity among the CSTO member-states, reducing tensions and settling disagreements between them so as to strengthen the organization itself, ensuring security and stability in the area of responsibility of the CSTO," Lukashenko said during the summit.

The president also noted that it was the first time the leaders had such an "honest and open" discussion during the narrow format meeting at the summit.

The president said Belarus would initiate a strategic dialogue with China, India, and other major geopolitical powers during its upcoming presidency to strengthen the CSTO's position in the world arena and expand partnerships. To do so, the CSTO is considering holding meetings at the levels of foreign ministers, defense ministers, and security councils of the CSTO member states.

Lukashenko also said that Belarus will take measures to strengthen "the role and significance of the CSTO in the system of international relations, as well as the comprehensive relevance of the organization's activities in the context of regional and global security." The president added that NATO countries had distanced themselves from cooperation with the CSTO, although the organization is increasingly noticed by other actors in the world arena, including European leaders and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Representatives of other countries and organizations should be invited to CSTO events, Lukashenko said, adding that Minsk is considering several meetings with their possible participation in 2023.

The CSTO includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In 2022, the association is chaired by Armenia, next year the chairmanship will pass on to Belarus.