Russian-Uzbek cooperation in protecting the southern frontiers of the CIS and in countering international extremism and Islamic terrorism will become a major theme of the talks between the Presidents of Russia and Uzbekistan which will be held in Moscow today. RIA Novosti was told this on Thursday by deputy head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Prikhodko. According to him, the questions of ensuring security in Central Asia will be discussed "first of all, in the light of the developments in Afghanistan". As Sergei Prikhodko stated, the Kremlin proceeds from the idea that it is impossible to build a system of regional security in Central Asia without Uzbekistan which Moscow considers to be its "strategic partner" in that region. Having recalled that Vladimir Putin's meeting with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov preceded the visit of the President of Uzbekistan, the deputy head of the Kremlin administration highlighted the necessity of pooling the efforts of all the states in the region in the struggle against Islamic extremism. RIA Novosti's sources in the Kremlin stress in this connection that Moscow has a stake in cooperation with the Central-Asian countries in the sphere of security, "specifically taking into consideration the situation in Chechnya" but "does not intend to use any specific schemes or selective methods of pressure in this question". According to the sources, in Russia they are not going to bank on one ally or partner, as it was done in the past, deeming this to be "senseless".
The Kremlin has taken two strong steps in a war of nerves that has caused quite a stir in the NATO-Ukraine alliance