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Uzbekistan: Russia To Aid Fight Against Islamic Rebels

Moscow, 29 August 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Foreign Ministry said today it is ready to provide assistance to Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries combatting Islamic militants. The statement comes after Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister Abdusamat Khaidarov met with Russian counterpart Aleksandr Losyukov in Moscow. The Defense Ministry's General Leonid Ivashov said Russia will provide info and advice to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to fight militants but is not planning to send troops or pilots. Ivashov said no request for such aid has come from either central Asian country. Fighting continues in northeastern Uzbekistan's Chirchik district, where government forces say they killed nine militants from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Kyrgyz National Security Secretary Bolot Januzakov said there is also fighting in southern Kyrgyzstan near the border with Tajikistan. Januzakov said there were battles in two areas overnight. He said government forces drove the militants back toward Tajikistan. Januzakov said the situation along the border is worsening.

In Tajikistan, Deputy National Security Secretary Nuralisho Nazarov denied the militants fighting Kyrgyz forces are based in Tajikistan. Nazarov said the militants stayed in Kyrgyzstan after they attacked there last summer.