By Hrach MelkumianHigh-ranking security officials from the Collective Security Treaty (CST) organization uniting Armenia and five other ex-Soviet states met in Yerevan on Tuesday to discuss ways of strengthening the Russian-led defense pact.
The secretaries of the national security councils of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan pledged closer cooperation but announced no specific agreements afterward.
“We are switching from political statements to concrete actions,” said Russia’s Igor Ivanov. “The CST is confidently getting on its feet.” Ivanov added that Russia and its ex-Soviet allies have boosted their military ties and stepped up their cooperation in fighting against “international terrorism” and drug trafficking.
The latter issue featured large during the one-day meeting, according to a statement issued by the Armenian Defense Ministry. The CST’s executive secretary, Nikolay Bordyuzha, told reporters that law-enforcement authorities of the member states have confiscated more than 5 tons of narcotics and opened thousands of criminal cases in a joint anti-drug operation conducted this year. He would not say if any of those drugs were seized in Armenia.
The Central Asian republics, notably Tajikistan, are the main transit route in the thriving illegal drug trade between Afghanistan and Russia and the rest of Europe.
Ivanov also said that the security chiefs, among them Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, did not discuss the post-election tensions in Ukraine which is not a member of the alliance.