Putin to Attend Post-Soviet Security Bloc Summit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will on Monday attend a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an intergovernmental military alliance of former Soviet states.

The CSTO Council, the organization’s supreme ruling body comprising leaders of the six member states, will gather in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Monday. Members of the organization are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

Putin is expected to make a speech about priorities of Russia’s future presidency in CSTO, the organization’s spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov said in a statement posted on the CSTO website.

“Much attention will be paid to security on member states’ borders, first of all taking into account the planned 2014 withdrawal of foreign military forces from Afghanistan,” the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

Along with security issues, member states would consider making a joint statement on the recent developments in Syria, Zainetdinov said.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin will meet with all CSTO leaders on the sidelines of the meeting, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. However, no formal meeting between the two leaders is planned, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said later.

The two countries have a long history of quarreling over economic questions and their bilateral relations have recently been strained over the arrest of Russian fertilizer giant Uralkali’s CEO in Minsk.

Russian citizen Vladislav Baumgertner, who heads the world’s largest potash producer, was detained by Minsk authorities in late August on charges of abuse of office. The move came a month after Uralkali dissolved an international cartel with the Belarusian potash giant, blaming Minsk for selling some of its produce outside their agreement.

Belarus later issued an international arrest warrant on similar charges for Urakali’s major shareholder Suleiman Kerimov.

 

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