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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Russia To Provide Significant Military Aid To Allies Says Ivanov

Bishkek (Ria Novosti): Russia will allocate significant funds for military-technical assistance to its allies, the defense minister said Wednesday. Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, is on a visit to Kyrgyzstan to attend a joint antiterrorism exercise in the south of the country. "Russia will allocate a significant sum this year and the next year, although I will not name the amount, for [military] assistance to our allies," Ivanov told a news conference after talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart.

"Russia has passed legislation that establishes the concept of military-technical assistance and I insisted on that," Ivanov said.

Russia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a post-Soviet security grouping that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It is also in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security body in Central Asia that includes China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Ivanov earlier said Russia was ready to provide military-technical assistance to all its allies, but does not want to impose it. So far, Russia has provided military equipment worth 15 million rubles ($555,000) to Kyrgyzstan under military cooperation agreements.

Ivanov also said that the current anti-terrorism exercises in Kyrgyzstan aimed to practice interaction of special forces units against the backdrop of increased activity of radical Islamic groups in Central Asia.

"We cannot speak about effectively uniting efforts in countering terrorism and extremism without these practical measures," the minister said.

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