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CIS: Foreign Ministers Discuss Common Security Threats

Moscow, 30 May 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Foreign ministers of the 12 ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States met today in Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told journalists after the talks that the agenda was "very rich." It included issues like the fight against drug trafficking, the organization of joint antiterrorist actions, and the prevention and settlement of conflicts in the territories of CIS countries.

Ivanov said he was satisfied the Commonwealth of Independent States shares the same points of view about the different issues and threats discussed.

"Today, the main threats for the CIS countries -- and for humanity -- are linked to international terrorism, to the threat of weapons of mass destruction, to organized crime, illegal immigration, and illegal drug trafficking. These are the challenges and problems that our countries -- like the international community -- are facing. Only by uniting our forces, is it possible to effectively defeat [these threats]," Ivanov said.

Ivanov said the CIS countries signed a protocol about a series of common actions to fight terrorism and an agreement to protect witnesses at criminal trials.

In the field of humanitarian cooperation, Ivanov said the CIS countries would cooperate in the fight against AIDS, working with the United Nations. He also said a Moldovan proposal to create a common CIS information space was approved.

Ivanov said today's discussions helped to consolidate CIS policy about current problems. "I believe that today's discussion reinforced the basis that the CIS member countries [need] to consolidate [their] policies concerning the important problems of today. The character of the new world order that is forming at the moment depends on the solution of these [problems]," Ivanov said.

Ivanov said he informed his CIS colleagues of the U.S.-Russia, NATO-Russia, and EU-Russia summits, and received a positive evaluation of these achievements from all of them.

The ministers also discussed the situation in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia, where Russian peacekeepers under CIS sponsorship have been deployed since 1994.

Ivanov said CIS foreign ministers are working on an agreement to prolong or terminate the peacekeeping operation in the zone of the conflict. The agreement is to be drafted before 30 June and submitted for consideration at a CIS summit planned for October in the Moldovan capital Chisinau.