More United Nations Cooperation with Regional Partners Key for Tackling Terrorism, Drug Trafficking in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Secretary-General Tells Security Council
Collective Security Treaty Organization Head Briefs on First-Ever Peacekeeping Deployment to Kazakhstan, as Delegates Discuss Common Action for Resolving Conflicts
Tackling such common threats as terrorism and drug trafficking requires ever strengthened cooperation among regional partners, briefers told the Security Council during a debate today on the United Nations partnership with the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
“No single organization can alone ensure peace, security and development in a complex and rapidly changing world; it requires partnership across all levels — from the local to the regional to the global,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Now more than ever, a more effective United Nations depends on stronger and deeper cooperation with regional partners, among them, the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Priority areas for action include cooperation on conflict prevention, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics, peacekeeping and addressing the worsening situation in Afghanistan.
“We are determined to bolster this work together; we are accountable together on what we do and how we work,” he went on to say. Cooperation with such groups as the Treaty Organization will be key to tackling these and related challenges in the region. In a common quest for a more peaceful and safer future for all, the United Nations anticipates working closely with its regional partners, he said.
Stanislav Zas, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, briefed the Council on the bloc’s recent activities, including its first-ever peacekeeping deployment to Kazakhstan in January. Indeed, the United Nations is its main international partner. Reaffirming the Treaty Organization’s commitment to the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, he said cooperative activities range from developing universal rules, norms and principles for proper conduct in the information sphere to establishing in 2021 a joint working group on peacekeeping. In this vein, he said the Treaty Organization’s peacekeepers — a force of 3,800 highly trained and well-equipped troops — may contribute to United Nations peace operations.
“We are pleased with how our cooperation is developing with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate,” he said, expressing hope that those efforts will be expanded, including through work to cut off terrorists’ funding streams. Citing other areas where cooperation can be bolstered, he pointed to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan — with increased risks of extremism and drug trafficking — and the expansion of military activity in Eastern Europe coupled with the lack of a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine. “The challenge of regional conflicts is not dissipating,” he stressed, noting that the Treaty Organization and United Nations should pool their efforts to reduce tensions, strengthen peace and stability, and build stronger cooperation on the principles of international law.
[The Collective Security Treaty Organization was established alongside the eponymous instrument, which entered into force in 1994, signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.]
During the ensuing debate, members of the Security Council and the Treaty Organization alike shared priorities, concerns and suggestions about how best to regionally rise to common challenges through collective action to address such pressing concerns.
The representative of the Russian Federation, Council President for February, speaking in his national capacity, expressed hope that today’s debate would clarify any misunderstandings or lack of information about the work of the Treaty Organization. Highlighting the bloc’s recent peacekeeping experience in Kazakhstan, he also cited several priorities and concerns for its member States, pointing to a potential military expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) right up to their borders. While the Treaty Organization has regularly turned to NATO with initiatives for cooperation, including in 2020 regarding Afghanistan, he said no responses have been provided to these proposals.
Other speakers shared their delegations’ perspectives about the January peacekeeping operation in Kazakhstan. The United States’ representative voiced concern that the first deployment of troops by the Treaty Organization was conducted before sustained dialogue efforts had been exhausted. Should the bloc hope to develop its own peacekeeping capacity, it should keep in mind that deployments must be undertaken in full respect for international law, he said, underlining the need to hear the voices of all groups — including ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) individuals — and to include their perspectives in peace agreements.
Many cited the benefits of regional cooperation in tackling common threats. India’s delegate said regional and subregional organizations have deep knowledge of local factors and complexities uniquely positioning them to provide better solutions to conflicts. Sharing some examples, he said the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia has helped to strengthen cooperation on terrorism and drug trafficking, and the first-ever India-Central Asia Summit was held in January to, among other things, foster economic development.
Ghana’s representative emphasized that efforts must aim at preventing the outbreak and recurrence of conflicts. Calling for more consultation, not less, to help countries bridge conceptual gaps in their understanding of security challenges in the Eurasian region, he also urged the Council to boost cooperation on any future deployments involving the Treaty Organization.
Drawing attention to regional threats and responses, Tajikistan’s delegate said increased drug trafficking in Afghanistan is adversely affecting the collective Central Asian security system, as opium production has increased by 6,800 tons since the Taliban takeover alongside a rise in terrorist activities near the border. Noting that Treaty Organization member States conducted five large-scale military drills near the Tajik-Afghan border in 2021, he recalled Tajikistan’s proposal to create a “security belt” around Afghanistan, involving the United Nations and regional organizations.
The representative of Armenia, whose country is Chair of the Treaty Organization, said expanding cooperation between the bloc and the United Nations is a priority. Indeed, since the bloc’s creation 30 years ago, it has transformed into a multifunctioning organization with the capacity to respond to a broad range of challenges and threats, including its recent deployment of a peacekeeping contingent in Kazakhstan.
Describing the effectiveness of that operation, Kazakhstan’s representative said January’s incidents had led to the first-ever peacekeeping request to the Treaty Organization, which it accomplished by protecting civilians and stabilizing the situation with a week-long deployment of member State peacekeepers. As such, Kazakhstan recognizes the Treaty Organization as an effective mechanism to maintain peace and supports efforts to strengthen the United Nations cooperation with such regional organizations, he said.
Also delivering statements were representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Kenya, Ireland, Brazil, China, Gabon, Mexico, Albania, United Arab Emirates, Norway, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus.
The meeting began at 11:07 a.m. and ended at 1:17 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said cooperation with regional organizations is at the core of the Organization’s activities, adding that: “Our founders understood that no single organization can alone ensure peace, security and development in a complex and rapidly changing world; it requires partnership across all levels — from the local to the regional to the global.” Now more than ever, a more effective United Nations depends on stronger and deeper cooperation with regional partners, among them, the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Recalling elements of the Joint Declaration on Cooperation adopted in 2010, he said the two organizations have identified several key areas: early warning; conflict prevention and resolution; peacekeeping, preventing and countering terrorism; the fight against international crime and illicit arms trafficking; disaster preparedness and response; and information-sharing.
Highlighting three priority areas, he pointed to cooperation on conflict prevention, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics. In this regard, the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia has been working in close partnership with the bloc to address the root causes of potential conflict and develop shared solutions to shared problems. Cooperation on peacekeeping is equally important, he said, and further deepening our cooperation in this area will help advance the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative and its implementation strategy, A4P+. Turning to the importance of cooperation to address the worsening situation in Afghanistan, he said the severe economic contraction, deteriorating humanitarian conditions and rise in terrorist activities are great concerns. Partnerships with such groups as the Treaty Organization will be key to tackling these and related challenges in the region. “We are determined to bolster this work together; we are accountable together on what we do and how we work,” he said, noting that one of the main goals of Our Common Agenda hinges on strengthening partnerships, guided by the Charter of the United Nations. In a common quest for a more peaceful and safer future for all, he said the United Nations anticipates working closely with its regional partners.
STANISLAV ZAS, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said the bloc views the United Nations as its main international partner. Reaffirming the Treaty Organization’s commitment to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, he recalled various resolutions and other agreements on mutual cooperation, including a text adopted by the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session and a number of memoranda of understanding. “We are pleased with how our cooperation is developing with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate,” he said, adding that he hopes to continue to expand those efforts, including through work to cut off terrorists’ funding streams by countering the illicit drug trade.
Outlining several specific operations in that regard, he said the Treaty Organization plans to conduct three active stages of its anti-drug-trafficking operation CHANNEL in 2022. In addition, it is working to stem the spread of terrorist propaganda. The bloc also supports the development of a set of universal rules, norms and principles for proper conduct in the information sphere under the auspices of the United Nations, aimed at countering extremism on digital and other media platforms. Urging international and regional organizations as well as States to participate in those efforts, he expressed support for a proposal to conduct regular consultations with regional and other experts in order to hammer out such an agenda.
Turning to other areas, he recalled the 2021 establishment of a joint working group of the United Nations and the Treaty Organization on peacekeeping, noting the possibility that the latter’s peacekeepers ‑ a force which currently stands at 3,800 highly trained and well-equipped troops ‑ may contribute to United Nations peace operations. Spotlighting their great professionalism, which was recently demonstrated during an operation in Kazakhstan, he said the latter was carried out without firing a single shot and fully in line with international legal principles. “This was the first case when the peacekeeping capacity of the Collective Security Treaty Organization was tapped in practice,” he said, noting that the aim of the mission was quickly achieved thanks to strong support from Kazakhstan’s partners in the bloc.
Touching on several other areas of the Treaty Organization’s work where cooperation with the United Nations can be further expanded, he cited a spike in tensions between States and negative international trends that can only worsen relations between countries. Indeed, the unfolding situation in Afghanistan has increased the risk of extremism and drug trafficking. Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, the expansion of military activity coupled with the lack of a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine is a serious concern. “The challenge of regional conflicts is not dissipating,” he stressed, noting that the Treaty Organization and United Nations should pool their efforts to reduce tensions, strengthen peace and stability, and build stronger cooperation on the principles of international law.
SERGEY VERSHININ (Russian Federation), Council President for February, speaking in his national capacity, expressed hope that today’s debate would clarify any misunderstandings or lack of information about the work of the Treaty Organization. Highlighting several activities, he said peacekeeping experience was demonstrated in Kazakhstan in January, when a disaster was averted due to cooperation among the member States of the Treaty Organization, which had promptly informed the Security Council. Indeed, the presence of peacekeepers had proven to be a stabilizing factor and once the situation stabilized, they left the country.
Turning to several priority areas on the bloc’s agenda, he pointed to Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan, and underlined ongoing efforts to combat such threats as terrorism and crime. In addition, discussions have been held with the Treaty Organization and the United Nations, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and others. Other priority areas are biosecurity and combating the glorification of Nazism. Raising concerns about risks and threats facing bloc member States on their southern and western borders, he drew attention to a potential military expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) right up to their borders. The Treaty Organization has regularly turned to NATO with initiatives to cooperation, including in 2020 regarding Afghanistan, however no responses have been provided to these proposals, he said.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) expressed deep concern over the violent clashes in Kazakhstan in early January, condemning the acts of violence seen. Much is unknown about the events, and he called for an urgent, transparent and effective investigation process. Noting that a Treaty Organization force was deployed to Kazakhstan to stabilize the unrest, he stressed that such deployments must be proportionate in any use of force and that Kazakhstan’s sovereignty must be respected. Welcoming regional partnerships in peacekeeping where those partners share the values and principles of the United Nations Charter, he emphasized the primacy of the United Nations in missions that are funded and mandated by the Organization and reiterated the importance of respect for human rights and gender equality during operations in response to security threats. It is also vital that the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy is applied wherever the Organization works with external actors, he noted, underlining that the rule of law is a key component of institutional cooperation.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said partnerships are key, with regional organizations knowing the situation on the ground, the root causes and other critical information. In this vein, aims, principles and actions must be in line with the United Nations Charter and must respect human rights, all of which are conditions for peace and security. Priorities for collective action include combating terrorism, he said, expressing France’s goal of cutting off financing to terrorist groups. Citing other concerns, he said the Taliban’s takeover by force is the reason for the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The international community’s reaction has been clear: the Taliban must break ties with terrorist groups, he said, noting that terrorist activities have increased since the takeover. Human rights must be upheld, even by the Taliban. Turning to the situation in Kazakhstan, he said respect for the rule of law must be a priority.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said that, without question, the Council is the foremost body tasked with the maintenance of international peace and security. Welcoming the United Nations work with regional arrangements as provided for under Chapter VIII of the Charter, he recalled Ghana’s working paper in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations on strengthening the United Nations cooperation with regional groups — and addressing gaps in such cooperation — and spotlighted the important role of civil society, women’s organizations and youth in all of those efforts. Turning to the work of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, he called for more consultation, not less, to help countries bridge conceptual gaps in their understanding of security challenges in the Eurasian region. All efforts should be aimed at preventing the outbreak and recurrence of conflicts. Turning to the recent deployment of the Treaty Organization’s troops to Kazakhstan, he urged more cooperation with the Council on any such future deployment.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States), expressing support for cooperation between the United Nations and regional groups and for efforts to prevent conflict, said the Central Asian regional group known as the “C5+1” serves as an essential platform for cooperation and a strong partner for his country. Its goals are to support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Central Asian nations while enhancing regional prosperity and stability. The platform has contributed greatly to economic connectivity and trade, as well as joint efforts to address security threats and environment issues and to promote women’s empowerment. The United States also works through the OSCE to promote reliance on the rule of law and the implementation of a legal framework to counter extremism, violence and terrorism. Voicing concern that the first deployment of troops by the Treaty Organization was conducted before sustained dialogue efforts were exhausted, he said that, should the bloc hope to develop its own peacekeeping capacity, it should keep in mind that deployments must be undertaken in full respect for international law. He also underlined the need to hear the voices of all groups — including ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) individuals — and to include their perspectives in peace agreements.
MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya) expressed support for work to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, as when Member States “read from different scripts or take unilateral actions, conflicts become unnecessarily complex, protracted, internationalized and, certainly, more destructive”. He cited the indispensable role of subregional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in the African Union’s peace and security architecture. He urged the United Nations and the Treaty Organization to undertake joint horizon scanning and analysis to inform strategic actions that draw specific support from regional Member States, further noting that regular exchanges between those bodies and regional and subregional organizations can build collaboration frameworks to deal with trans-regional threats such as terrorism, piracy and sea-based crime.
T. S. TIRUMURTI (India) said regional and subregional organizations have deep knowledge of local factors and complexities uniquely placing them to provide better solutions to conflicts. Contemporary security challenges like terrorism, transnational crime and pandemics transcend physical or political boundaries, requiring coordinated and concerted actions across borders, with Member States’ faith in regional organizations bringing positive synergy to the actions of the United Nations and Security Council. The United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia has also helped strengthen cooperation on terrorism and drug trafficking. Citing the first ever India-Central Asia Summit in virtual format on 27 January 2022, attended by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, he highlighted India’s offer of a $1 billion line of credit for priority developmental projects in the region. His Government has also taken steps to modernize the infrastructure of the Chabahar port in Iran, which will become an important link in trade and transport communications between the markets of Central and South Asia, and has co-deployment of Kazakh troops within the Indian battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Turning to Afghanistan, he stressed that resolution 2593 (2021) reflects expectations of the international community that Afghan soil should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) noted that Ireland has experienced first-hand the vital role regional and subregional organizations can play in building and sustaining peace, adding: “Our membership of the European Union was central to the growth and development of our country.” While the Council is charged with primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, that requires collective and multi-layered efforts. Citing the important roles played by the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventative Diplomacy in Central Asia, she said joint endeavours on transboundary water management, climate and security, counter-narcotics and cross-border trade have begun to lay the groundwork for stronger, more sustainable and resilient communities and economies across the region. Recent events in Kazakhstan have also underlined the importance of preventative diplomacy and the close cooperation of neighbouring States to prevent destabilizing conflict.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said it is crucial to strengthen partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations as part of the toolbox for conflict prevention, mediation, crisis management and post-conflict peacebuilding. Hailing the partnership with the African Union, he added that the Organization of American States (OAS) is also well-placed to contribute to the defence and promotion of democracy, human rights, sustainable development and multidimensional security. Turning to the Treaty Organization, he described recent clashes on the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as cause for serious concern and praised the organization’s role in halting that confrontation. He voiced support for dialogue and negotiation in Kazakhstan, adding that the Government should remain attentive and responsive to people’s legitimate aspirations. He further stressed that women, peace and security should remain at the core of all Treaty Organization activities and that the driving principles of cooperation must be respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
ZHANG JUN (China) said the Treaty Organization has been successful at protecting its member States and addressing threats, from drug smuggling to peacekeeping. Recalling the 2021 General Assembly resolution recognizing the United Nations-Treaty Organization cooperation, he drew attention to recent tensions in Kazakhstan and the bloc’s positive role in stabilizing the situation. China is opposed to any attempts that threaten Kazakhstan’s security or create turmoil, he said, reiterating Beijing’s support for restoring stability and fostering economic development and emphasizing that the international community should follow suit. At a time when threats of terrorism, extremism and separatism continue to rise, compounded by the pandemic, he said a certain country is pursuing hegemonic policies, hampering development in some countries and provoking war. As such, the international community must strengthen solidarity and oppose such “bloc politics” and confrontation. China and Treaty Organization member States work cooperatively on a range of activities, including promoting economic integration to build a closer community with a shared future, he said.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that against a security backdrop marked by multifaceted crises, the calls on the United Nations require maintaining and strengthening relationships with regional partners. Citing gains stemming from the African Union and United Nations partnership, she said the Security Councils of both organizations have addressed a range of challenges. Involving regional stakeholders to work alongside the United Nations improves results, he said, noting that the proliferation of crises and their increasing complexity requires going beyond current efforts to strengthen partnerships. Regarding the cooperation between the United Nations and the Treaty Organization, he recalled that the latter covers a vast zone, employs a collective security strategy and has the potential to provide peacekeeping, which could be seen recently in Kazakhstan. Calling for boosting cooperation with regional organizations, he said working in synergy with these blocs is essential.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico), expressing support for cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, said such groups have in-depth knowledge of the situation on the ground. Citing the need to identify more opportunities for collaboration and complementarity, he said one critical and common global threat is international terrorism. Cooperation and coordination among the Treaty Organization’s member States is fundamental to combating that phenomenon, especially as the wider region has been impacted by the complex situation in Afghanistan. All counter-terrorism actions must adhere to international law, he said, listing illicit drug and arms trafficking as other serious threats facing the region. Council resolution 2616 (2021) encourages regional cooperation, including through joint border activities, to end trafficking before weapons reach the wrong hands. Against that backdrop, he noted Mexico’s strong support for preventive approaches and joint efforts to address the underlying causes of conflicts, marginalization and inequality.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) expressed support for regional forms of cooperation that advance United Nations Charter principles. All countries must be able to decide in full freedom which regional body to join or not join, in line with the aspirations of their people. It is not without concern that Albania has followed the Treaty Organization’s recent intervention in Kazakhstan, she said, underscoring the need for transparency about such critical matters that can affect the region and beyond. She pointed to a lack of clarity about the mandate of the forces deployed by the Treaty Organization, recalling that all regional organizations must adhere to international law and international humanitarian law when engaging in peace and security activities. Expressing regret over the loss of life during the January protests, she urged Kazakh authorities to abide by their international obligations, especially to uphold human rights, adding that such rights were violated during the protests. Pointing to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as an “excellent” example, and noting that Albania’s involvement in regional and international organizations in the Western Balkans, Europe and elsewhere has helped to build good neighbourly relations, she said regional organizations serve their purpose when they reflect the aspirations of all their members, rather than “the dominant few”.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) said his country attaches great importance to prioritizing regional views in conflict resolution as well as in peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The United Arab Emirates is a member of many regional and subregional organizations, including the Gulf Cooperation Council, the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Voicing support for the principle of regional solutions to regional problems, he said there are cases in which such issues have international consequences and must be addressed by the Security Council, whose work should be informed by regional groups. “Today’s debate is a good manifestation of how voices from the region can inform the Council’s deliberations on security challenges impacting Central Asia,” he said, noting that the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization have several overlapping objectives. Cooperation is all the more warranted in light of recent developments in Afghanistan, he added.
TRINE SKARBOEVIK HEIMERBACK (Norway), welcoming strengthened institutional cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, spotlighted the Organization’s partnership with the African Union as a positive example. “Traditional politico-military threats are not the only security challenges we face today,” she said, citing a range of issues from instability and armed conflict to deprivation of human rights and terrorism. Stressing that good governance, rule of law, gender equality, respect for human rights and fostering democratic institutions are essential components in maintaining peace, security and prosperity, she drew attention to the situation in Kazakhstan — which is now dealing with the aftermath of demonstration in January — and urged that country’s authorities to secure fair trials for those under investigation.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) said expanding cooperation between the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the United Nations is a priority for his country during its tenure as Chair of that bloc. Noting the importance of studying the practical experience of national troops who are members of the Treaty Organization — as well as to examine and learn from the training of United Nations peacekeepers — he recalled that Armenian troops were among those who visited United Nations forces in Lebanon as part of a Treaty Organization field mission in 2021. Since the bloc’s creation 30 years ago, it has transformed into a multifunctioning organization with the capacity to respond to a broad range of challenges and threats. In that vein, he recalled its swift response to the recent tragic events in Kazakhstan, noting that the operation — which was based on an official request by the Government of Kazakhstan — was both peaceful and limited in scope, and that the Treaty Organization’s troops demonstrated their great effectiveness.
MAGZHAN ILYASSOV (Kazakhstan) said the destabilizing situation in his country in January had led to the first-ever request that the Treaty Organization serve in a peacekeeping capacity. Recalling the situation leading up this request, he said criminal elements, foreign fighters and religious extremists had hijacked ongoing protests against increasing oil prices. This attempt to destabilize the country across multiple provinces prompted Kazakhstan to request assistance. As a result, a Treaty Organization peacekeeping contingent was swiftly deployed on 6 January, and the United Nations Security Council was informed. Peacekeepers proceeded to engage in protecting civilians and related infrastructure and then, once stabilizing the situation, left on 13 January. While Kazakhstan is currently investigating the instability experienced in January, it also recognizes the Treaty Organization as an effective mechanism to maintain peace. Kazakhstan also supports efforts to strengthen the United Nations cooperation with such regional organizations.
AIDA KASYMALIEVA (Kyrgyzstan) said much work has been accomplished during the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s 30-year history. As a member of the bloc, Kyrgyzstan supports the development of its capability to prevent and respond to possible crises. Noting that the international situation continues to deteriorate and remains highly unpredictable, she called for collective efforts by all parties, based on universally recognized principles and the norms of international law. Afghanistan currently faces significant security and socioeconomic challenges. As a friendly regional neighbour, Kyrgyzstan has always supported efforts to achieve peace in Afghanistan and to provide all possible assistance to the Afghan people. However, recent events in that country revealed the presence of terrorist “sleeper cells” in Central Asian nations, able to intensify their activities amid conflict situations. Against that backdrop, she welcomed the decision to activate the Treaty Organization’s collective security system amid the recent protests in Kazakhstan.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV (Belarus) said the Collective Security Treaty Organization has transformed from a defensive alliance to one capable of confronting contemporary challenges. Noting that it now makes a significant contribution to maintaining peace and security in Europe, he said enhancing its cooperation with the United Nations is a natural and logical next step; the preparation of reports and the adoption of resolutions on that cooperation is also important. The fact that such work has often taken on a “political hue” at the United Nations only proves that some States would rather ignore the Treaty Organization’s growing importance. Highlighting the bloc’s focus on the situation in Afghanistan, he welcomed more cooperation with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, as well as ongoing dialogue between the two organizations on peacekeeping. Turning to recent events in Kazakhstan, he said the actions of the Treaty Organization’s collective forces prevented a provoked conflict and kept people safe.
JONIBEK HIKMAT (Tajikistan) pointed to the adverse impact on the collective Central Asian security system due to the increasing threats of drug trafficking in Afghanistan. With the Taliban takeover, opium production has increased by 6,800 tons, equal to 320 tons of pure heroin; by comparison, in the first seven months of 2021, Tajikistan authorities seized 484 kilograms of drugs, while in the last four months of Taliban rule alone, they have seized around 3 tons (2,780 kilograms) — an almost sixfold increase. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) should be actively involved in countering the scourge, cooperating with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Commonwealth of Independent States to strengthen regional anti-drug security. Meanwhile, since early September 2021, there has been an increase in terrorist groups in the provinces of Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan, he said, pointing to the more than 40 camps and terrorist training centres with over 6,000 fighters in the north-eastern provinces. He noted Treaty Organization member States conducted eight large-scale military drills in 2021 alone, five near the Tajik-Afghan border, and recalled the proposal by the President of Tajikistan to create a “security belt” around Afghanistan, involving the United Nations and other international and regional organizations.