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Senior Russian Official Accuses U.S., NATO of Stoking Tensions in Central Asia

Ivanov was speaking at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTK) 29 November 2005 -- The secretary of Russia's National Security Council today accused the United States and NATO of putting pressure former Soviet republics in Central Asia and increasing tensions in the region.

Igor Ivanov also said there have been "attempts to interfere in the political life of the newly independent states under the pretext of promoting democratic values and freedoms."

Ivanov made his comments at a meeting of top officials of the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organization, which comprises Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Russian officials and lawmakers have voiced increasing concerns about the growing influence of the U.S. and NATO in former Soviet republics, particularly the U.S. military presence in Central Asia.