NATO refuses to cooperate with CSTO in fighting Afghan drugs for ideological reasons – Lavrov

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

(Interfax – December 18, 2013) Moscow stands for NATO-CSTO cooperation in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during the Government Hour at the Federation Council on Wednesday.

“We think it would be useful to finally start practical cooperation between the CSTO and NATO,” he said.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) give much attention to the situation in Afghanistan, from where the NATO force is supposed to depart in 2014, the minister said.

“The CSTO is taking concrete steps, for instance, in the reinforcement of the external borders of Tajikistan,” Lavrov said. “Pursuant to the alliance agreement with Uzbekistan, measures are being taken to minimize the threats, which will certainly grow after 2014 when the international contingent is withdrawn,” he said.

Russia sees drug trafficking as a serious threat, and it has many times offered the North Atlantic Alliance to cooperate with the CSTO in its deterrence, the minister recalled.

“Unfortunately, NATO rejects this cooperation for purely ideological reasons. At the same time, more than a half of NATO [countries] are national observers to Operation Canal, which testifies to their interest. This means the ideology prevents NATO as a whole from developing equal cooperation with the CSTO,” the minister said.