Collective Security Treaty Organization Head Briefs on First-Ever Peacekeeping Deployment to Kazakhstan, as Delegates Discuss Common Action for Resolving Conflicts
Tackling such common threats as terrorism and drug trafficking requires ever strengthened cooperation among regional partners, briefers told the Security Council during a debate today on the United Nations partnership with the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
“No single organization can alone ensure peace, security and development in a complex and rapidly changing world; it requires partnership across all levels — from the local to the regional to the global,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Now more than ever, a more effective United Nations depends on stronger and deeper cooperation with regional partners, among them, the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Priority areas for action include cooperation on conflict prevention, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics, peacekeeping and addressing the worsening situation in Afghanistan.
“We are determined to bolster this work together; we are accountable together on what we do and how we work,” he went on to say. Cooperation with such groups as the Treaty Organization will be key to tackling these and related challenges in the region. In a common quest for a more peaceful and safer future for all, the United Nations anticipates working closely with its regional partners, he said.
Stanislav Zas, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, briefed the Council on the bloc’s recent activities, including its first-ever peacekeeping deployment to Kazakhstan in January. Indeed, the United Nations is its main international partner. Reaffirming the Treaty Organization’s commitment to the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, he said cooperative activities range from developing universal rules, norms and principles for proper conduct in the information sphere to establishing in 2021 a joint working group on peacekeeping. In this vein, he said the Treaty Organization’s peacekeepers — a force of 3,800 highly trained and well-equipped troops — may contribute to United Nations peace operations.
“We are pleased with how our cooperation is developing with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate,” he said, expressing hope that those efforts will be expanded, including through work to cut off terrorists’ funding streams. Citing other areas where cooperation can be bolstered, he pointed to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan — with increased risks of extremism and drug trafficking — and the expansion of military activity in Eastern Europe coupled with the lack of a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine. “The challenge of regional conflicts is not dissipating,” he stressed, noting that the Treaty Organization and United Nations should pool their efforts to reduce tensions, strengthen peace and stability, and build stronger cooperation on the principles of international law.
[The Collective Security Treaty Organization was established alongside the eponymous instrument, which entered into force in 1994, signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.]
During the ensuing debate, members of the Security Council and the Treaty Organization alike shared priorities, concerns and suggestions about how best to regionally rise to common challenges through collective action to address such pressing concerns.
The representative of the Russian Federation, Council President for February, speaking in his national capacity, expressed hope that today’s debate would clarify any misunderstandings or lack of information about the work of the Treaty Organization. Highlighting the bloc’s recent peacekeeping experience in Kazakhstan, he also cited several priorities and concerns for its member States, pointing to a potential military expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) right up to their borders. While the Treaty Organization has regularly turned to NATO with initiatives for cooperation, including in 2020 regarding Afghanistan, he said no responses have been provided to these proposals.
Other speakers shared their delegations’ perspectives about the January peacekeeping operation in Kazakhstan. The United States’ representative voiced concern that the first deployment of troops by the Treaty Organization was conducted before sustained dialogue efforts had been exhausted. Should the bloc hope to develop its own peacekeeping capacity, it should keep in mind that deployments must be undertaken in full respect for international law, he said, underlining the need to hear the voices of all groups — including ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) individuals — and to include their perspectives in peace agreements.
Many cited the benefits of regional cooperation in tackling common threats. India’s delegate said regional and subregional organizations have deep knowledge of local factors and complexities uniquely positioning them to provide better solutions to conflicts. Sharing some examples, he said the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia has helped to strengthen cooperation on terrorism and drug trafficking, and the first-ever India-Central Asia Summit was held in January to, among other things, foster economic development.
Ghana’s representative emphasized that efforts must aim at preventing the outbreak and recurrence of conflicts. Calling for more consultation, not less, to help countries bridge conceptual gaps in their understanding of security challenges in the Eurasian region, he also urged the Council to boost cooperation on any future deployments involving the Treaty Organization.
Drawing attention to regional threats and responses, Tajikistan’s delegate said increased drug trafficking in Afghanistan is adversely affecting the collective Central Asian security system, as opium production has increased by 6,800 tons since the Taliban takeover alongside a rise in terrorist activities near the border. Noting that Treaty Organization member States conducted five large-scale military drills near the Tajik-Afghan border in 2021, he recalled Tajikistan’s proposal to create a “security belt” around Afghanistan, involving the United Nations and regional organizations.
The representative of Armenia, whose country is Chair of the Treaty Organization, said expanding cooperation between the bloc and the United Nations is a priority. Indeed, since the bloc’s creation 30 years ago, it has transformed into a multifunctioning organization with the capacity to respond to a broad range of challenges and threats, including its recent deployment of a peacekeeping contingent in Kazakhstan.
Describing the effectiveness of that operation, Kazakhstan’s representative said January’s incidents had led to the first-ever peacekeeping request to the Treaty Organization, which it accomplished by protecting civilians and stabilizing the situation with a week-long deployment of member State peacekeepers. As such, Kazakhstan recognizes the Treaty Organization as an effective mechanism to maintain peace and supports efforts to strengthen the United Nations cooperation with such regional organizations, he said.
Also delivering statements were representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Kenya, Ireland, Brazil, China, Gabon, Mexico, Albania, United Arab Emirates, Norway, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus.
The meeting began at 11:07 a.m. and ended at 1:17 p.m.