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Russia: CIS Leaders Agree On Security Program

Moscow, 25 January 2000 (RFE/RL) - The one-day Moscow summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has ended with agreement by leaders of its 12 members states to draft a security program to fight terrorism and religious extremism. Interfax -- citing acting Russian President Vladimir Putin -- says that under the program an international anti-terrorist center may be established by the CIS. The agency said the program was proposed by Uzbek President Islam Karimov and his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbaev.

The anti-terrorist accord was one of several reached at the summit meeting. Other agreements coordinate CIS members' anti-monopoly and anti-illegal immigration activites and more closely align them economically.

Russia often describes its five-month-old military intervention in Chechnya as an anti-terrorist operation designed to wipe out Muslim extremists blamed for two incursions into southern Russia and September bomb attacks in Moscow that killed almost 300.

At a press conference after the summit, Putin confirmed that five CIS members -- including Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan -- would partipate in joint military exercises on Uzbek and Kyrgyz territory in the Spring. The other two countries are thought to be Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, which joined in similar exercises last year. Also talking to reporters, Putin called today's summit discussions "frank and open." Putin was elected CIS chairman at the meeting, replacing former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.