The secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has received a "package of documents" signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka that formalizes Belarus’ accession to the security bloc’s agreement on the establishment of a rapid response force, Vitaly Strugovets, spokesman for the secretariat, told BelaPAN.
In particular, he said, Mr. Lukashenka has signed the agreement and a number of other documents governing the composition of the force and other matters.
The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Russia and four Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The Collective Rapid Response Force (CRRF) is expected to be stationed in Russia and be under a single command. Personnel of Russia’s 98th Airborne Division and 31st Assault Landing Brigade may form the core of the Force. The CRRF would be used for repelling "military aggression," conducting operations to combat international terrorism and extremism, transnational organized crime and drug trafficking, dealing with the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters, and ensuring the CSTO’s efficient participation in the maintenance of international peace and security.
All CSTO member states except Belarus and Uzbekistan signed the agreement at a summit held in Moscow on June 14. Mr. Lukashenka boycotted the meeting in protest against Russia’s decision to ban the import of nearly all dairy products from Belarus earlier that month.
According to Mr. Strugovets, Mr. Lukashenka has also signed other agreements adopted at the June summit. They focus on, among other matters, the management of CSTO collective security force and means, a joint emergency response plan and a plan of action to fight illegal migration from third countries.