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Uzbekistan's President Criticizes New CIS Alliances

Baku, May 28 (RFE/RL) - Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov today sharply criticized attempts to create new alliances within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In an interview with RFE/RL on his arrival in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, Karimov said new integration agreements among Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are contrary to the goals of the CIS.

Karimov said any move to strengthen integration of CIS countries must be based on respect for independence and sovereignty of the former Soviet republics.

Russia and Belarus have signed an agreement that will closely link the two countries economically and politically and may lead to a single currency.

Karimov is in Baku for a two-day official visit during which he is expected to discuss economic and trade co-operation with Azerbaijan's President Heydar Aliev.