CSTO tightens foreign base norms

Russia has won the right to veto the establishment of new foreign military bases in the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

At their summit in Moscow the leaders of the CSTO agreed that the deployment of foreign bases in their territory is only possible with the approval of all partners of the defence alliance.

“In order to deploy military bases of a third country in the territory of the CSTO member-states, it is necessary to obtain the official consent of all its members,” said Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Kazakhstan took over the rotating presidency of the CSTO from Belarus.

The defence bloc of former Soviet states also includes Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev emphasised that the decision had been endorsed unanimously by all the seven member states.

“The decision we have made with regard to military bases of a third country is very important for the consolidation of positions within the CSTO,” the Russian leader said.

The tightening of rules for opening extra-regional military bases apparently does not apply to existing facilities, such as the U.S. transit centre in Kyrgyzstan, a German air transit facility in Uzbekistan and French military aircraft based in Tajikistan.

However, the decision gains importance in the light of reported plans by the Pentagon to redeploy to Central Asia some of the forces that will be pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014.

Experts point out, however, that the agreement is still tentative as it was signed in the form of a protocol and does not offer a definition of a foreign military.

Russia has won the veto right

Does not apply to existing facilities