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Russian Border Guards To Be Stationed In Southern Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK -- Russian border guards stationed in Kyrgyzstan's northern Chui region will be transferred to a southern oblast to help with cross-border issues, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Vladimir Pronichev, chief of Russia's Border Guard Service and head of a delegation that arrived in Bishkek on September 28, said that the group of 40 Russian border guards going to the southern region of Osh will assist Kyrgyz authorities in preventing illegal migration, human trafficking, extremism, and terrorism along part of its border with Uzbekistan.

Pronichev said that 20 other border guards will remain in the northern region of Chui, not far from Bishkek.

"The most urgent task now, in our view, is to exchange information and also to set up an effective team -- and we've already provided advisers for this purpose -- that is going to combat cross-border criminal groups," Pronichev said.

Pronichev stressed that border guarding operations will be the Russian specialists' top priority in southern Kyrgyzstan.

"We have a common enemy, which is cross-border crime, and all countries should unite against it," Pronichev said. "This is not about [one country] acting against any other country. We should stand together, and if we do, the situation will stabilize sooner."

Violent clashes in June between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions left nearly 400 people dead and hundreds wounded.

The Pronichev-led delegation held talks with top Kyrgyz officials today, including President Roza Otunbaeva.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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