CSTO to tighten rules on foreign bases in member states
- Written by RIA Novosti
MOSCOW, Dec 21 (RIA Novosti). Countries outside the Collective Security Treaty Organization will only be able to establish bases on the territory of a member state with the consent of all members, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Tuesday after a CSTO meeting.
The CSTO is a regional security organization whose seven member states are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The only foreign base in the CSTO currently is the U.S. airbase at Manas in Kyrgyzstan.
"Now, in order to accommodate extra-regional military structures on the territory of the CSTO, it will be necessary to obtain official approval of all [CSTO] members,” Nazarbayev said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev added that “all parties reached a mutual agreement” on the decision.
The U.S. airbase at Manas was set up near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in America to support military operations in Afghanistan. The facility remains key to supply operations for the ongoing military campaign there.
In February 2009 the Kyrgyz Parliament voted to close the base after the two governments failed to agree on the rent the U.S. pays. Kyrgyzstan’s president-elect Almazbek Atambayev has repeatedly said he plans to close down the U.S. base.
“I don’t think the base at Manas guarantees the security of our country. I would not want to see another country carry out a retaliatory strike against the base. A civil airport is a civilian site and should remain so,” he said in November 2011. Kyrgyzstan will uphold all existing agreements, he said, but when the current Manas base agreement expires in 2014, the American facility there should go.