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Uzbek troops on the streets of Andijon following a bloody crackdown on demonstrators in May 2005 (epa)
BISHKEK, July 25, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev says he has agreed with his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov, to join forces in combating what he calls "international terrorism" and "religious extremism."
A statement posted on the Kyrgyz presidential website (www.president.kg) says the two Central Asian leaders came to that conclusion after meeting on the sidelines of a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) held on July 22 in Moscow.
At a meeting in Bishkek today, the heads of the security services of both countries -- Kyrgyzstan’s Busurmankul Tabaldiev and Uzbekistan’s Rustam Inoyatov -- agreed to conduct joint antiterror operations and exchange information on extremist religious organizations.
Kyrgyz security forces last week arrested five Uzbek citizens wanted in their home country for allegedly organizing unrest in the city of Andijon in May 2005. The arrests followed a series of shootouts between police and alleged extremists that claimed at least six lives in southern Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz authorities on July 25 said they detained another Uzbek citizen, Bekmurat Karimov, in the southern city of Osh on charges of belonging to the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
In his statement, Bakiev says his Uzbek counterpart offered him his "full support and understanding in fighting international terrorism and religious extremism."
The Kyrgyz president also says Karimov invited him to visit Uzbekistan this year.
(With additional material from AKIpress, Kabar, and 24.kg)