A meeting of the leaders of the states party to the Collective Security Treaty is being held at St. Catherine's hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace. Taking part in the meeting are presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Robert Kocharyan of Armenia, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan, and Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan. Having congratulated all those present on "the signal event in the life of the organisation" - the 10th anniversary of the Treaty, Putin stated that today's meeting was "a very good cause to discuss the whole range of problems which we call problems of security." The president of Russia proposed "summing up all that has been done over the past few years," talking of the organisation's plans, "discussing the situation which has been shaping up in the Treaty's member countries from the point of view of ensuring citizens' security, speaking about international problems, and consulting on separate aspects of the international situation." After the opening address the Russian leader passed "the reins of government" to President Robert Kocharyan of Armenia which is the chairman of the Treaty this year. A session of the supreme political body of the Treaty - the Collective Security Council - will take place after the meeting.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969