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NATO Chief To Discuss Uzbek Violence With Putin

24 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer appealed to Russia today to join the alliance in combating international terrorism and halting the spread of advanced weapons.

He spoke this morning in Moscow at the beginning of a day of meetings with top Russian officials, starting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and including President Vladimir Putin.

The NATO chief says he plans to raise concern over the Uzbek government's suppression of an uprising last month. NATO has joined in Western calls for an independent, international investigation of the Uzbek violence. Russia has backed the Uzbek government and blamed the unrest on international terrorists.

The talks are expected also to focus on joint efforts in fighting terrorism and the drug trade as well as regional issues, in particularly Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans.