President Vladimir Putin is to lead Russia's delegation to a session of the Collective Security Council, to be held in Moscow on May 14. The Kremlin press service announced Friday the forum is timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty (CST) signing. The gathering will feature heads of state, security council chiefs, and ministers of defense and foreign affairs from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Russia. Issues of improving cooperation and streamlining coordination within the CST framework are expected to figure prominently on the meeting's agenda. Given the importance of strengthening the military component of treaty, the Council is to explore the issue of creating a military command and control entity within the treaty framework as an autonomous international military planning institution. In the context of practical decision-making intended to achieve effective functioning of the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces for the Central Asian Region created last year, problems of improving regional command and control structures will be studied. The discussion will focus on existing entities for command and control of regional security capability in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus and a projected one in Central Asia. Issues of expanding military-technical cooperation will form a separate agenda at the meeting, with a special emphasis laid on development, manufacture, upgrade and repair of military hardware and low-cost military training. Moscow expects the session's results to become a considerable step in further development of military and political cooperation between CST signatory states in strengthening their national and collective security, the press service noted.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18