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Russia/Central Asia: Reduction In Border Forces Expected

Prague, 5 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's President Boris Yeltsin has sent letters to the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan about Moscow's plan to sign an agreement with China on mutual border-force reductions. The agreement is expected to be signed as China's President Jiang Zemin visits Moscow in April.

Interfax news agency cites the letters sent Central Asian leaders as emphasizing that the sides have already agreed not to deploy additional forces along the borders. Yeltsin proposes that the border-force-reduction agreement be signed by the leaders of the five states -- just as the agreement on militant confidence-building measures was signed in Shanghai in April, 1996. That agreement was signed by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.