Vladimir Putin: Iraq Crisis Is Potential Source of Instability for CIS Countries

'The Iraq crisis is no longer a regional conflict but a potential source of instability in other areas of the world, including CIS countries,' Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on March 21 at a meeting with security council secretaries of CIS Collective Security Treaty member states.

According to the president's press office, Mr Putin called on regional collective security organisations, including the Collective Security Treaty, to limit the negative consequences of military action in Iraq, maintain stability in the region and provide security for civilians.

Mr Putin said that 2002 was a successful year for the CIS as a regional organisation. He said it was essential that a decision be taken on transforming the collective security treaty into a large-scale regional organisation, capable of facing the new security threats. He added that the organisation's structure and aims needed to be specified. It is possible that the organisation will work alongside the CIS anti-terrorist centre and a joint anti-terrorist special force may be created.

Mr Putin proposed a careful assessment of the anti-terrorist legislation of member states and the creation of an inventory of problems occurring on the borders between countries. The problem of crime and terrorism on the borders is a particular concern, the president said.

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