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Counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, top priorities for UN cooperation with Eurasian security body

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Russian Deputy Minister for Foreign Sergey Vershinin (right) and Secretary-General António Guterres (left) both addressed the Security Council meeting on cooperation between the UN and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSO).

Conflict prevention, counter-terrorism and support to Afghanistan, top the list of issues on which the UN and the Collective Security Treaty Organization – a Eurasian regional grouping comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan – should bolster their cooperation, Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday.

“Our founders understood that no single organization can alone ensure peace, security, and development in a complex and rapidly changing world,” said Mr. Guterres, describing the bloc – known as the CSTO – as an important partner for the UN system.

Among other issues, he described the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as one area where strong support from regional partners will prove crucial in the months and years ahead.

Shared goals, activities

The CTSO is based on the Collective Security Treaty, signed in 1992 as a follow-up to the Commonwealth of Independent States, and was officially established in 2002.

In the years since, it has evolved from a common defense grouping to a multifunctional alliance with capabilities in diplomacy, information-sharing, counter-terrorism and the maintenance of regional peace and security.

Through various resolutions, reports and memoranda of understanding – including biennial resolutions of the General Assembly – the UN has acknowledged a range of goals and activities that it shares with the CSTO and welcomed the increasing breadth and depth of their cooperation.

The Organization also signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the United Nations and the CSTO in 2010.

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Counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, top priorities for UN cooperation with Eurasian security body

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. On screen is Secretary-General Stanislav Zas of the CSTO.

Peacekeeping arena

In his address to the 15-member Council, Secretary-General Guterres also touched on the issue of peacekeeping.

He thanked CSTO member countries for their important contributions to the whole UN peacekeeping department, and welcomed a 2021 visit by a delegation of its experts to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), where they were able to gain first-hand insights into the prevention work being done by UN missions.

“As we deepen our ties in the years ahead, we look forward to receiving further pledges from CSTO members to the UN peacekeeping capability readiness system,” he said.

Counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, top priorities for UN cooperation with Eurasian security body

Tajik peacekeeping unit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) arrives in Tajikistan..

Crisis in Afghanistan

Turning to the worsening situation in Afghanistan, the UN chief warned that terrorism remains a constant threat, not only to the security of the region but to the entire world.

“Without determined action, the severe economic contraction, rising unemployment and escalating humanitarian crisis will fuel despair and breed extremism,” he said.

Regional and inter-regional cooperation, as well as cross-border law enforcement and judicial cooperation, are essential elements in the global response.

He spotlighted closer cooperation between the UN and regional organizations – including the CSTO – as critical to defusing these evolving threats, preventing spill-over, promoting stability and ultimately save lives.

“We are determined to strengthen this work together,” he stressed, adding that the UN is counting on support from its regional partners to achieve those goals.

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