CSTO mission strictly peaceful, temporary - Kazakh state secretary
NUR-SULTAN. Jan 10 (Interfax) - The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) mission will leave Kazakhstan upon stabilization of the local situation, Kazakh State Secretary Yerlan Karin said.
"As we have repeatedly said before, the CSTO mission is completely peaceful and planned to be accomplished within a brief period," Karin said on Telegram on Monday.
"The entire joint peacekeeping force of the CSTO will leave our country as the situation stabilizes," he said.
Karin noted that the activity of CSTO peacekeepers would be limited to particular regions.
"The CSTO forces will be operating in certain regions. They will be locally providing protection of critical sites. This is a founded measure," he said.
Kazakh presidential press secretary Berik Uali said on state-run television earlier that, in his opinion, the CSTO forces might stay in Kazakhstan for another week.
The situation in Kazakhstan aggravated on January 2 following protests against a steep rise of liquefied gas prices in Zhanaozen, a city in the Mangistau region in western Kazakhstan. The economic and political protests spread across the country as time passed, and the protesters clashed with the police in Almaty on January 4 and 5. There were casualties. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dismissed the government in the morning of January 5, and a nationwide state of emergency was declared. Tokayev also said he had asked the leaders of CSTO member states to help contain the terrorist threat to Kazakhstan.
The CSTO collective peacekeeping forces were temporarily deployed to Kazakhstan to help stabilize and normalize the local situation, consistent with a resolution adopted by the CSTO Collective Security Council on January 6. The forces include servicemen from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. They are mainly tasked with protecting strategic government and military sites and assisting Kazakh law enforcers.