DUSHANBE, December 21, Asia-Plus - Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zaripov today left for Minsk to attend a meeting of the council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) foreign ministers that will be held in the Belarus capital tomorrow.   

A source at a MFA said that the meeting will consider the present situation within the CSTO area and priorities of cooperation between the council and the recently established CSTO Parliamentary Assembly.  

The meeting will focus on restoration of Uzbekistan’s membership in the organization and signing of a memorandum of relationships between the CSTO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according to the source. 

CSTO members - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - use the organization as a platform for fighting drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime, and have pledged to provide immediate military assistance to each other in the event of an attack. The bloc has a Collective Rapid Reaction Force deployed in Central Asia, and is continuing to build up its military forces.