Uzbekistan leaves security bloc

Dec. 19, 2012 at 3:52 PM

MOSCOW, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Uzbekistan has officially ended its membership in a Russian-led international collective security organization, the president of Belarus announced in Moscow.

At a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, composed of post-Soviet nations, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said, "We have granted their request and halted, suspended [Uzbekistan's] CSTO membership."

The withdrawal does not affect bilateral or multinational efforts to combat terrorism, Russian Federal Security Service chief Alexander Bortnikov said, adding, "Work along those lines will continue."

Uzbekistan's new foreign strategy precludes military alliances and bans foreign bases on Uzbek territory, the Russian news service RIA Novosti said.

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