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Central Asia: Three Presidents Agree To Create Common Economic Space

Almaty, 26 August 1996 (RFE/RL) - The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan last week approved a program for the creation of a common economic space by the end of 1997.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, Askar Akayev and Islam Karimov also signed a number of economic agreements, reported Itar-Tass. They including documents linked to the functioning of the Central Asian Bank for Cooperation and Development, a joint body in charge of coordinating banking policies in the region.

The presidents talked last week during a meeting of the Interstate Council in the Kazakh capital of Almaty. The Council was created in 1994 to discuss cooperation issues among the three countries. Nazarbayev holds the Council's rotating presidency. Kyrgystan's Akayev is to take up the presidency at the end of the year.

At a press conference after the meeting, Central Asian Bank president Satylbady Sazanov said a request from Russia and Tajikistan to be admitted as Interstate Council's observers had been approved.

The presidents exchanged views on the political, economic and social situation in their countries. They also discussed international issues.