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Central Asia: Shanghai Forum Ends In Tajikistan

Dushanbe, 5 July 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Shanghai Five summit in the Tajik capital Dushanbe concluded today with the presidents announcing a change in the name of the organization. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the new name is Shanghai Forum. Putin said he and the presidents of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan approved the change. Uzbek President Islam Karimov attended as an observer. Putin said the group already has achieved positive results, saying: "In our opinion, this organization has become a primary factor of stability in the region. And in this context, it will exert a serious influence on international affairs."

A principal topic of today's summit was fighting terrorism. The presidents confirmed a plan to set up an anti-terrorist center in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek.

They also criticized a proposal in the United States to deploy a tactical missile defense system and called on all nations to refrain from using arms against any country without sanctions from the United Nations.

Earlier today, Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin met and discussed their opposition to the U.S. missile defense system proposal. A spokesman for Putin says the two leaders believe the proposed U.S. system would undermine existing arms control agreements and violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.