The Georgia republic is ready to render its airspace to AWAC surveillance planes.
Russia is being encircled with NATO bases, and it seems that it is impossible to stop this process. NATO Secretary General George Robertson is currently visiting Central Asia. The American official will visit Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. As it is supposed, Robertson will sign an agreement with the government of Kazakhstan about the deployment of two NATO airbases in Kazakh cities of Chimkent and Alma-Ata. The alliance will have an opportunity to control almost the entire Central Asian airspace, as well as the airspace of Russian and Chinese border territories.
Former USSR republics of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are the members of the recently established Organization for Collective Security Treaty (the organization was initiated by Russia). This brings up a question of NATO bases' compatibility with OCST's obligations. It seems that there is absolutely nothing in common about it. OCST members have repeatedly emphasized the organization's openness for other countries, but it is hard to suppose that the openness applies to NATO too. In addition to it, the latter does not experience the need of any cooperation.
As it is supposed, an OCST airbase is to appear in the republic of Kyrgyzstan in October. Russia is doing almost all the costs about the project. The base will be the neighbor to the American army base deployed on the territory of Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, as well as with two other NATO airbases in Kazakhstan. It is not ruled out that the alliance will extend its presence in the region.
Nevertheless, all those things will happen in the future, although the future is not distant. The republic of Georgia is virtually ready to render its airspace for NATO's AWAC surveillance planes. Negotiations are still underway, but there are no doubts that they will have a successful ending. The Georgian government will represent it as another important step on the way to the NATO membership. If AWACs appear in Georgia, NATO will have the total control over Russia's south. Moreover, the alliance will be able to control all movements of the Russian troops in the Northern Caucasus.
Nikolay Bordyuzha, Secretary General of the Collective Security Council stated during his visit to Minsk, Belarus, on July 8th: "Central Asian states, members of the Organization for Collective Security Treaty, are not striving for the unification of their military and political components, they want to run more constructive activities."
It is hard to imagine that Moscow knew nothing about the coming deployment of NATO's bases in Kazakhstan. Of course, the Russian government is aware of AWACs surveillance planes in Georgia too. Nevertheless, one may not say that NATO's and OCST's goals will contradict to each other a lot. However, if the prime goal is connected with the struggle against the international terrorism, it means that NATO has certain doubts about OCST's efficiency in this respect. Furthermore, one shall assume that the Organization for Collective Security Treaty jeopardizes NATO's interests.
[Source: Pravda, Moscow, 10July03]
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