CSTO peacekeeping exercise starts in Armenia

01/10/2015 12:25
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, October 1, 2015, Asia-Plus – The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) peacekeeping exercise, dubbed Unbreakable Brotherhood 2015, began in Armenia on September 30.

According to the CSTO Secretariat, the exercise is an open and scheduled one. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations, other international and regional organizations have been invited to attend the exercise.

The exercise reportedly involves three stages five days long.  September 30 saw the first stage of the exercise.

The exercise Unbreakable Brotherhood 2015 is the final event in the series of tactical training exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.  The exercise involves limited contingents of the peacekeeping forces of all the member states.  The exercise has reportedly gathered about 600 personnel, about 50 vehicles, including helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.  Meanwhile, the present strength of the CSTO peacekeeping forces is 3,600 people.

The CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha and Chairman of the CSTO Defense Ministers Council, Armenian Defense Minister Seiran Oganyan are expected to attend the active phase of the exercise that will take place on October 4.

The CSTO member nations approved a declaration establishing the CSTO peacekeeping force on December 10, 2010.

The regional security organization was initially set up in 1992 in a meeting in Tashkent and Uzbekistan once already suspended its membership in 1999.  However, Tashkent returned to the CSTO again in 2006 The regional security organization was initially formed in 1992 for a five-year period by the members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST) -- Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which were joined by Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Belarus the following year.  A 1994 treaty reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force, and prevented signatories from joining any “other military alliances or other groups of states” directed against members states.  The CST was then extended for another five-year term in April 1999, and was signed by the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.  In October 2002, the group was renamed as the CSTO.  Uzbekistan that suspended its membership in 1999 returned to the CSTO again in 2006 after it came under international criticism for its brutal crackdown of antigovernment demonstrations in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005.  On June 28, 2012, Uzbekistan announced that it has suspended its membership of the CSTO, saying the organization ignores Uzbekistan and does not consider its views.  The CSTO is currently an observer organization at the United Nations General Assembly.

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