CSTO Not Giving Up On Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan may have suspended its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization this summer, but the CSTO wants the final word: the organization's collective security council is holding a meeting in Moscow on December 19, where the presidents of member states "will make the final decision and we will state our position on that step" by Uzbekistan. That's according to CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Borduyzha, on a visit to Belarus, adding that he hoped Uzbekistan's suspension was temporary.
And Russia's representative to the CSTO, Igor Lyakin-Frolov, said "the door was open" to Tashkent: "We are moving toward a suspension of Uzbekistan's membership, bu we would hope that the door would not be closed for the return to the organization in the case of a change in the political situation in that country," he said.
And he added that Uzbekistan's move "wasn't unexpected," and had to do with Uzbekistan's concern about where the organization was heading:
"The fundamental reason for Uzbekistan's suspension of its membership in the CSTO is principally different views toward the development of the organization. Uzbekistan's leadership put the fundamental accent on rendering support in the case of aggression against one or several CSTO members," the diplomat said.
But lately, a course was discussed and supported by the majority of governments, including Russia, on turning the organization into a multi-profiled structure not only acting against external aggression, but also repelling contemporary threats and challenges -- terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal migration, and cyberterrorism, said Lyakin-Frolov.
This seems pretty accurate. Uzbekistan's geopolitical moves tend to be interpreted as either moving the country toward Moscow and away from Washington, or vice versa. But the clearer trend is that it doesn't want anyone -- the U.S. or Russia -- to be involved in its internal affairs. And that seems a simpler explanation of its recent isolationist tendency. And that's not something the CSTO will be able to do anything about, barring any "change in the political situation." That phrase is pretty loaded, given President Islam Karimov's advancing age and the uncertainty over who would succeed him. And it underlines the fact that Russia, at least, isn't going to be indifferent to how that succession turns out.