YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Senior security officials from Armenia–Russia and four other former Soviet states ended a two-day meeting in Yerevan on Thursday in preparation for next month’s summit of the signatories to the 1992 Collective Security Treaty (CST). Secretaries of the national security councils of the six nations–including Russia’s Vladimir Rushaylo–focused on the agenda of the summit which will get underway in the Armenian capital on May 25.
Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian–who presided over the meeting–said the security chiefs discussed ways of deepening their close military links and a "joint struggle against international terrorism and other manifestations of extremism." Also on agenda was the creation of a Russian-led "rapid reaction force" tasked with countering the alleged Islamist threat to Tajikistan and other Central Asian states. Russia–the linchpin of the CST–also plans to form a joint military contingent with Armenia to reinforce the south Caucasian flank of the common security system also encompassing Belarus–Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The CST summit will be followed by a meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk of the leaders of the 12 ex-Soviet republics making up the Commonwealth of Independent States. The CIS executive secretary–Yuri Yarov–met with President Robert Kocharian and other Armenian leaders in Yerevan on Thursday as part of the preparations for the summit slated for June 1.