ASTANA — President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev underscored the gravity of the evolving situation in the Middle East, emphasizing the urgent need for collective action in the face of escalating international tensions during a narrow format session of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) held in Minsk on Nov. 23, Akorda press service reported.
Amid a swiftly deteriorating global landscape, President Tokayev voiced his deep concern about the unfolding events in the Middle East, noting the loss of innocent lives, including children, as a consequence of the conflict.
“Kazakhstan has extended a humanitarian aid of one million dollars to the residents of Gaza, channeling it through the United Nations structure – the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Despite facing unprecedented losses among its personnel, the UNRWA heroically continues its mission. The Middle East conflict has sparked a far-reaching spiral of informational and ideological confrontation, casting its influence on a virtually global scale. The events surrounding the Gaza Strip have led to a division within the world community, creating at least two camps. We need to stop before the fire of war burns all countries and continents,” he said.
Expressing support for recent agreements on a temporary truce, President Tokayev stressed Kazakhstan’s call on the conflicting parties to make every effort to declare a humanitarian pause. He urged the international community to facilitate a long-term resolution, stating, “It is necessary, finally, under the auspices of the UN, to ensure the right of the Palestinians to create a full-fledged state according to the formula – two states for two peoples.”
President Tokayev also turned his attention to the situation in Afghanistan, advocating for humanitarian assistance and the integration of the war-torn country into the regional economy. He appealed to the international community to continue supporting the Afghan people, citing Kazakhstan’s contributions in the form of food, essential goods, medicines, and emergency assistance following an earthquake in October.
Acknowledging the concerns of CSTO partners regarding traditional threats, including the surge in drug trafficking, weapons proliferation, cross-border crime, and illegal migration, President Tokayev affirmed Kazakhstan’s commitment to collaborative efforts in countering these challenges.
Reflecting on the CSTO’s achievements as a formidable military-political organization, President Tokayev cautioned against undue focus on growing threats, asserting, “Frequent statements on this topic create the illusion that we are afraid of someone.”
“Statements of this nature are susceptible to misinterpretation. The organization’s rhetoric should possess a firm yet precise tone, considering the self-esteem of the participating states and their collective military-political capabilities. While the CSTO has demonstrated success as a respected military-political entity, it now faces new challenges that demand alignment with the constructive spirit of its member states,” he emphasized.
President Tokayev highlighted the substantial progress in enhancing the CSTO’s potential and mechanisms to counter challenges and threats throughout the year. During an expanded meeting of the Collective Security Council, he outlined key priorities for the organization’s agenda during Kazakhstan’s chairmanship commencing in January of next year.
According to him, the first emphasis will be enhancing cooperation between the CSTO and relevant countries and international bodies in the security domain. Maintaining strong ties with the UN, as outlined in the 2010 Joint Declaration, is a focal point. Additionally, deepening collaboration with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a priority.
The second critical focus area involves military cooperation. Tokayev highlighted the need to refine the regulatory framework for the swift deployment of CSTO Collective Forces. This includes improving transit procedures for contingents and military aviation. Enhancing the training of military personnel and bolstering the military-scientific capabilities of CSTO member states are also essential. Special attention will be given to unlocking the peacekeeping potential of the organization, with the Special Representative of the CSTO Secretary General playing a crucial role on peacekeeping issues.
Addressing international terrorism and extremism constitutes the third priority. Tokayev stressed the importance of preventing citizens from joining terrorist groups and proposed intensifying the Working Group of Experts on Combating Terrorism and Extremism under the Committee of Secretaries of the CSTO Security Councils.
Moreover, the organization will actively combat illicit trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances. Tokayev also highlighted the significance of countering illegal arms trafficking and organized transnational crime and deepening cooperation in preventing and addressing the consequences of emergencies. The fight against crimes in information technology is recognized as another crucial area of focus.
The session, attended by leaders including Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, and CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov, concluded with the signing of several key documents.