9 June 2009
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said an idea to create CSTO collective rapid reaction force remained a priority task and it was necessary to continue working to create a legal framework for its implementation.
In his meeting with CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha on Monday, Medvedev said, "Since the CSTO extraordinary session (it decided to create a collective rapid reaction force) time has passed and proved that the idea to create the collective rapid reaction force hasn't lose its priority and remained very important when at a time when the world is facing different threats - terrorism, drug trafficking and others."
"We'll prepare documents to make the CSTO rapid reaction force legitimate. We'll deal with this problem," he said.
Bordyuzha told Medvedev that a package of documents had been prepared by the CSTO summit to take place on 14 June. They include an agreement on collective rapid reaction force and supplements to it. "All documents are coordinated and practically ready," the CSTO secretary-general said.
Bordyuzha noted that since the CSTO extraordinary session "much work has done". "We studied world experience on forming the rapid reaction force and held over 30 sessions at the level of experts, including high-level experts," he added.
A decision to create the collective rapid reaction force was taken in Moscow on February 4, 2009.
At the end of March, Russia's Federation Council ratified an agreement regulating operational deployment and use of and support to the rapid reaction force in Central Asian collective security region.
The agreement aims to create an international legal framework for the operation of the rapid reaction force.
Russia will provide one division and one brigade for the collective rapid reaction force of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Medvedev said.
"Russia is ready to provide one of its divisions and one of the brigades for the collective rapid reaction force," Medvedev said.
A presidential aide said the collective rapid reaction force would be created on the basis of the 98th Airborne Division and the 31st Airborne Assault Brigade.
According to Medvedev, strong conflict tendencies in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) area have prompted the creation of the rapid-reaction force in the region.
Medvedev said the collective rapid-reaction force created by the CSTO leaders at their summit "will be as good as that of NATO".
Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said that the "CSTO collective rapid reaction force is to be used to repulse military aggression, to launch special operations against international terrorism and against forcible manifestations of extremism, as well as against trans-national organised crime, against drug trafficking, and to cope with the aftermaths of emergency situations of natural and industrial origin".
He recalled that every CSTO member-nation now had its own rapid deployment force to be used in case of a common menace. "The distinctive feature of the CSTO collective rapid reaction force will be that they will have a permanent place of deployment on the territory of Russia, where the forces of the other countries are to be moved," Prikhodko noted.
"There is also an idea to hand over to them, at the final stage, the forces of the Ministry for Emergency Situations and, probably, of the Interior Ministry, too," the presidential aide stated. "We are now completing our work on a draft version of a corresponding agreement and we hope it will be signed," he added.
According to the agreement, the decision on operational deployment and use of the rapid reaction force is made by the Collective Security Council at the request of one or a group of member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, based on the suggestions made by the Council of the Defence Ministers.
The commander of the rapid reaction force assumes control of the national contingent during this period.
The senators said the agreement furthered collective defence principles earlier approved by the CSTO member states and was consistent with Russia's international obligations.
The CSTO is a military-political alliance of seven countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was created on the basis of the Collective Security Treaty of the May 15, 1992, which was turned into an international organisation on May 14, 2002. The CSTO received the status of observer at the U.N. General Assembly on December 2, 2004.
The purpose of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation is to guarantee the national security of each of its members and to ensure their territorial integrity. In case of a menace, looming over any member-country, all the other CSTO participants will be duty-bound to give it all the necessary aid, including military assistance. The military-political relations among the CSTO nations hold supremacy over their military relations and contacts with third countries, which are not CSTO members.
The Treaty's overall system of collective security includes some regional subsystems, acting in three directions: in the European direction (the Russo-Belarus military group) and in the Caucasian direction (the Russian-Armenian group).