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Russia: CIS Defense Ministers Fail To Appoint Kolesnikov

Dushanbe, 31 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Defense Ministers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have failed to accept Russia's nomination of its former Army chief of staff, General Mikhail Kolesnikov, as the new chief of staff for the coordination of military cooperation in the CIS.

Our correspondent in Dushanbe says the decision was made at a two-day meeting of CIS Defense Ministers held in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. The meeting ended yesterday. It was aimed at strenghtening security along Tajikistan's borders amid concern that the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan could spread.

Our correspondent reports that the formal reason for the refusal of Kolesnikov's candidature was the absence at the meeting of representatives of three CIS countries -- Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Moldova.

No new appointment was made at the meeting. According to our correspondent, CIS Defense ministers said a representative of another CIS country apart from Russia should become the new CIS chief of staff for military cooperation.

Russian president Boris Yeltsin fired Kolesnikov two weeks ago from his post of chief of staff of Russia's armed forces and replaced him with former CIS chief of staff, Viktor Samsonov.