Details added (first version posted on 17:09)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 13
The defense ministers of the member-states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) signed a joint statement on the withdrawal of military contingent from Kazakhstan, the CSTO secretariat said, Trend reports.
“The defense ministers signed a joint statement of the Council of Defense Ministers on the withdrawal of peacekeepers from Kazakhstan following an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CSTO,” the CSTO said.
According to the message, moreover, the ministers discussed the results of the peacekeeping operation in the country, as well as the issues of ensuring regional security and improving mechanisms for prompt response to the emerging threats during the meeting.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan, Defense Minister of Belarus Viktor Khrenin, Kazakhstan’s Defense Minister Murat Bektanov, Kyrgyzstan’s Defense Minister Baktybek Bekbolotov, Tajikistan’s Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo took part in the videoconference meeting.
Chief of the CSTO Joint Staff Anatoly Sidorov, CSTO Deputy Secretary General Takhir Khairuloev and Commander of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CSTO in Kazakhstan Andrei Serdyukov also took part in the meeting.
Earlier, CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas told Interfax that the CSTO peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan has been completed, the anti-terrorist operation carried out by the Kazakh security forces has ended.
“The process of withdrawing the CSTO collective peacekeeping forces from Kazakhstan was launched on January 13 and will continue for 10 days,” Zas added. “The CSTO peacekeeping mission has been completed in the country. This is the agreed assessment of the political leadership of the CSTO member-states, the military command of the CSTO collective peacekeeping forces and the Kazakh Armed Forces.”
Kazakhstan's government announced late Jan. 4 that it was restoring some price caps on liquefied petroleum gas, after the rare protests reached Almaty following a sharp rise in the price of the fuel at the start of the year.
Many Kazakhs have converted their cars to run on LPG, which is far cheaper than gasoline as a vehicle fuel in Kazakhstan because of price caps. But the government argued that the low price was unsustainable and lifted the caps on Jan. 1.
After the price of the fuel spiked, big demonstrations erupted on Jan. 2 in certain parts of the country. Public protests are illegal in the country unless their organizers file a notice in advance.
Following the development of the situation, the government declared a state of emergency all over the country. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the government initiated anti-terrorist operations to deal with the ongoing riots.
Also, the divisions of the united peacekeeping contingent of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) arrived in Kazakhstan to assist in restoring order and help protect strategic objects of the country.