Collective Security Treaty Organization needs Uzbekistan as key regional player
Azerbaijan, Baku, September 8 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova /
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) needs Uzbekistan, as it is one of the key players in the region, Russian expert on Central Asia and the CIS, Leonid Gusev, has said.
"Uzbekistan holds an important place in the military cooperation between Russia and the Central Asian countries, Gusev told Trend via E-mail.
Uzbekistan, together with Kazakhstan, are key countries in the region, because of their geopolitical, economic and military potential."
Gusev said that Russian military experts stress that Uzbekistan in particular has very effective and well-equipped armed forces within the region, having direct combat experience in special operations in mountain regions.
Uzbekistan has refused to participate in the Collective Rapid Reaction Force within the CSTO. The Collective Rapid Reaction Force is one of the largest projects of the CSTO. Uzbekistan will not participate in the Collective Rapid Reaction Force under any circumstances, says a media report, citing on an anonymous source in the Uzbek government.
Tashkent has named a number of conditions. It insists that decisions on the use of the Collective Forces will be made on the basis of a consensus of the CSTO member-states' votes, rather than a simple majority. It requires the Collective Rapid Reaction Force units not to be sent to other countries if it is contrary to national legislation. It stands for a ban for Collective Rapid Reaction Force units participating in solving conflicts between countries entering the Collective Security Treaty Organization. It thinks that the agreement on the Collective Rapid Reaction Force must enter into force only after ratification from all member-countries and not simply after signing.
"However, I think that these are all excuses. The Uzbek leadership could find a consensus with Russia and the other CSTO member-states if it wanted," the Senior Researcher at the Institute of International Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Gusev, said.
He said that the cause includes Tashkent's pro-West stance, namely its cooperation with the United States.
In 1999, Uzbekistan left the Collective Security Treaty Organization and joined GUUAM. But it renewed participation in the CSTO in 2006.
Gusev said that the Central Asian water problem, Russia's planned military base in Kyrgyzstan and the border problems between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are having an impact on Uzbek policy.
Gusev said that the border problem started in 1930.
"The borders between the Central Asian republics were drawn up without anyone paying attention to where the peoples lived, because they were all administrated within a single nation - the USSR", the expert said.
Regarding how long Uzbekistan will stay in the CSTO, Tashkent says it will not leave the organization. However, it will cease its activity in the CSTO, Gusev said.
"It will stay in the organization in 'frozen state'," expert said.