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Rasmussen's visit to benefit NATO, CSTO cooperation

RIA Novosti

16:54 15/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's visit to Moscow may improve ties between the alliance and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the post-Soviet security group's head believes.

"I hope that the NATO Secretary General's visit to Moscow will allow him to once again pay attention to the issue [of cooperation between NATO and the CSTO]," Nikolai Bordyuzha said.

He said that no steps to improve cooperation between the two organizations had been taken so far.

"NATO is still failing to establish contact with the CSTO, including on issues like Afghanistan," Bordyuzha said.

He added that he had no plans to meet with Rasmussen during his visit to Moscow.

Headquartered in Moscow, the CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Russia's security strategy until 2020 envisions the CSTO as "a key mechanism to counter regional military challenges and threats."

Bordyuzha said the security group plans to complete the creation of CSTO peacekeeping force and to start training peacekeepers next year.

He also said that the joint rapid-reaction force established earlier this year would hold an exercise in mid-2010 at a training ground in the city of Chebarkul in the Urals. He did not give the exact date.

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