Dmitry Medvedev is leaving on Friday for Kazakhstan, where he will participate in an informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Leaders of the member-countries plan to discuss first of all the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa, Itar-Tass reported.
Earlier, Medvedev said he would update his counterparts on Russia's efforts to normalise the situation in Northern Africa and in the Middle East.
"The situation in Northern Africa and in the Middle East influence directly the situation in the CSTO," he said. "I will positively inform the partners on the intermediate efforts we are undertaking."
Medvedev is also planning to discuss the situation in Kyrgyzstan, to talk about "major regional threats, and generally about the situation in the region."
"Russia is interested in building up the CSTO's potential," he stressed.
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, who chairs the organisation now, agrees with him.
"We should discuss the emerging situation, the issues which may arise," Lukashenko said. "They are serious and they are numerous. With the events happening in the world, the military-political bloc should coordinate and even pre-plan its activities."
"It is not worth hiding that the entire Muslim world is boiling up, and we may not rule out a situation where tension may occur in our Muslim countries - in Tajikistan, there are enough problems in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan."
The Kremlin's press service said that "the countries' leaders will exchange views on current problems of modern international situation, including the situation in the Middle East and in Northern Africa, as well as in the CSTO's area of responsibility, they will discuss various aspects of the organisation's activities, and raising its effectiveness."
"Though the discussions will be of free character and there will not be a strict agenda, it is supposed that the presidents will give orders to the CSTO's Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha regarding preparations for the organisation's next session (due before the yearend in Moscow), and, possibly, regarding the double jubilee in 2012 - 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Collective Security and 10th anniversary of the organisation," the press service said.
It is planned, that the summit will begin on Friday in Astana, and after the official part, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev will invite the presidents to the Borovoye to continue their work.
Earlier, Bordyuzha said that presidents of all member countries will come to Astana, except for Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov. The CSTO unites seven countries - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The upcoming meeting will be the fifth event of the kind in the organisation's history. This forum started in the Borovoye (Kazakhstan) on December 19-21, 2008 and later on it was developed in Cholpon-Ata (Kyrgyzstan) on July 31- August 1, 2009, in Moscow on May 8, 2010, and in Yerevan on August 20, 2010.
The Collective Security Treaty Organisation is an intergovernmental military alliance which was signed on 15 May 1992. On 7 October 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed a charter in Tashkent founding the CSTO. Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed secretary general of the new organisation. On 23 June 2006, Uzbekistan became a full participant in the CSTO; and its membership was formally ratified by the Uzbek parliament on 28 March 2008. The CSTO is currently an observer organisation at the United Nations General Assembly.
The CSTO charter reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. Signatories would not be able to join other military alliances or other groups of states, while aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all. To this end, the CSTO holds yearly military command exercises for the CSTO nations to have an opportunity to improve inter-organisation cooperation. The largest-scale CSTO military exercise held to date were the Rubezh 2008 exercises hosted in Armenia where a combined total of 4,000 troops from all 7 constituent CSTO member countries conducted operative, strategic, and tactical training with an emphasis towards furthering efficiency of the collective security element of the CSTO partnership.
The CSTO employs a "rotating presidency" system in which the country leading the CSTO alternates every year. Belarus currently has the CSTO presidency.
The CSTO grew out of the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and first began as the CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST) which was signed on May 15, 1992, by Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in the city of Tashkent. Azerbaijan signed the treaty on September 24, 1993, Georgia on December 9, 1993 and Belarus on December 31, 1993. The treaty came into effect on April 20, 1994. The CST was set to last for a 5-year period unless extended. On April 2, 1999, only six members of the CST signed a protocol renewing the treaty for another five-year period - Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan refused to sign and withdrew from the treaty instead. At the same time Uzbekistan joined the GUAM group, established in 1997 by Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova, and largely seen as intending to counter Russian influence in the region. Uzbekistan later withdrew from GUAM.
On February 4, 2009, an agreement to create the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (KSOR) was reached by five of the seven members, with plans finalised on June 14. The force is intended to be used to repulse military aggression, conduct anti-terrorist operations, fight trans-national crime and drug trafficking, and neutralize the effects of natural disasters. Belarus and Uzbekistan initially refrained from signing on to the agreement; Belarus because of a trade dispute with Russia, and Uzbekistan due to general concerns. Belarus signed the agreement the following October while Uzbekistan has yet to sign it. However a source in the Russian delegation said Uzbekistan would not participate in the collective force on a permanent basis but would "delegate" its detachments to take part in operations on an ad hoc basis.