Deputy Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Valery Semerikov started fulfilling the duties of the chief of the Organization on Sunday, the CSTO press service said.

The term of CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha expired on December 31, 2016.

Bordyuzha has been the CSTO Secretary-General since 2003.

At the organization’s Moscow summit in December 2015, a decision was taken to extend Bordyuzha’s term until January 1, 2017.

In late December, Bordyuzha said the issue on the new chief of the organization would be solved in April 2017 at the meeting of the CSTO Council.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that several candidacies were considered for the post of the CSTO new chief but no decision had been made yet.

The regional security organization was initially formed in 1992 for a five-year period by the members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST) -- Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which were joined by Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Belarus the following year.  A 1994 treaty reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force, and prevented signatories from joining any “other military alliances or other groups of states” directed against members states.  The CST was then extended for another five-year term in April 1999, and was signed by the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.  In October 2002, the group was renamed as the CSTO.  Uzbekistan that suspended its membership in 1999 returned to the CSTO again in 2006 after it came under international criticism for its brutal crackdown of antigovernment demonstrations in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005.  On June 28, 2012, Uzbekistan announced that it has suspended its membership of the CSTO, saying the organization ignores Uzbekistan and does not consider its views.  The CSTO is currently an observer organization at the United Nations General Assembly.