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Russia: Defense Minister Says No Strikes From Central Asia


Yerevan, 14 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov denied U.S. media speculation that a U.S. retaliatory action for the terrorist attacks in the United States could be launched from former Soviet republics in Central Asia. Ivanov said that he does not see "even the hypothetical possibility of NATO military operations on the territory of Central Asian nations that belong to the Commonwealth of Independent States." He was speaking to reporters during a visit to Yerevan.

In Moscow, General Anatoly Kvashnin, the head of the Russian General Staff, said it was unlikely that the Russian armed forces will take part in any retaliatory action for the terrorist attacks.

French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, who is on an official visit to Moscow, said Russia has expressed what he called "political determination" to participate in a "global action against terrorism." But he said Russian authorities had said nothing about the manner of their participation.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov warned today that U.S. retaliatory strikes for the deadly attacks on Washington and New York would not solve the long-term threat of international terrorism.

In an interview with CNN, Ivanov said Russia believes the world must present a "united response." He said President Vladimir Putin is ready to offer the United States all necessary help.

The Central Asian countries of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan border Afghanistan. Tajikistan is a member of a Russian-dominated security body and Uzbekistan consults closely on such issues, although Turkmenistan does not.

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