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CIS Leaders Sign Military Cooperation Pact

The leaders of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have signed 17 agreements, including a statement on combating international terrorism and an agreement on military cooperation through 2020.

The agreements were signed at a summit of CIS leaders -- representing Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan -- on October 16 in the Kazakh village of Burabay.

Representatives of Moldova, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine participated as observers.

At a press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said closer military cooperation is necessary because "the situation [in Afghanistan] is close to becoming critical."

He added that one of the goals of Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan is "to penetrate the Central Asian region."

The agreement on military cooperation, he said, will furnish a "coordinated response" to that threat.

Putin also praised the CIS as a mechanism for members to address problems caused by "negative external actors," such as "uncertainty in the global economy and rising political tensions."

CIS leaders agreed that the next CIS summit will be held in Kyrgyzstan on September 16, 2016.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax