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Security Alliances Led By Russia, China Pool Resources

Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rakhmon (AFP) DUSHANBE, October 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A Russian-led defense alliance of former Soviet states and a regional security body headed by China have agreed to broaden cooperation.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) signed the deal today on the sidelines of a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

The head of the CIS's Collective Security Treaty Organization, Nikolai Bordyuzha, insisted that the agreement did not challenge NATO, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.

"We don't see NATO as a rival, and certainly not as an enemy," Bordyuzha said. "As you know, we have offered our cooperation to NATO in many areas, including [combating] illegal drug trafficking. So I think it is a mistake to say that the document we signed today on systematic cooperation between the CSTO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an attempt to rival or counteract NATO."

Topping the summit's agenda is a draft proposal on broad guidelines for CIS development as well as a declaration on a coordinated migration policy.

CIS leaders are also expected to replace Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, whose nation currently holds the grouping's rotating presidency, and also choose a new executive secretary.

The CIS comprises Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan is an associate member.

All are being represented by their heads of state except Ukraine, which has sent its foreign minister.

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