Thursday, June 28, 2012 -
Uzbekistan is withdrawing from the Russian-led regional security alliance CSTO, an Uzbek diplomat said on Thursday.
“Uzbekistan has sent the CSTO secretariat a note about the suspension of its participation in the activities of the CSTO,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported a diplomatic source as saying on Thursday.
CSTO, or the Collective Security Treaty Organization, comprises Russia, fellow Central Asian states Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, as well as Armenia and Belarus.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov has withheld Uzbek troops from participating in CSTO military exercises in recent months.
Karimov is said to be wary of participating too closely in military and economic alliances with Russia, preferring to maintain the country’s distance from its former hegemon.
“Uzbekistan’s decision doesn’t help collective security in the region,” head of the Tajik parliamentary defense committee Amirkul Azimov told RIA Novosti.
Tensions between the two states also exist over the treatment of employees of MTS Uzbekistan, a subsidiary of the larger Russian firm. Uzbek authorities last week are investigating the company for financial irregularities and have detained several of its managers, a move which MTS says is unlawful.