Russian-Turkmen agreement on security issues to be signed till June 2003

Secretary of the Russian Security Council Vladimir Rushailo told journalists after his negotiations with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov on Friday that a Russian-Turkmen agreement on security issues could be signed in the first half of 2003.

According to Mr. Rushailo, the agreement is being elaborated on the Turkmen President's initiative and has already been agreed on with Russian experts. Now the draft is under consideration of the Turkmen side.

When speaking about today's negotiations with the Turkmen President, Vladimir Rushailo stressed that regional and international security issues, as well as bilateral ones, had been touched upon.

In particular, the Russian Security Council Secretary said, the situation in Central Asia was discussed. He described it as "complicated." According to Vladimir Rushailo, it is directly connected with the current anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and activities of different terrorist groups in a number of countries. Mr. Rushailo advocates joint efforts of Russia and Turkmenistan in this field.

Moreover, the Caspian issue was discussed at the meeting, in particular, issues concerning the use of its bottom, bio-resources and related environmental problems. Mr. Rushailo recalled that documents on the status of the Caspian Sea were being elaborated and the issue would be touched upon in the future.

Vladimir Rushailo pointed out that spokesmen for the Russian Energy Ministry that had conducted talks with their Turkmen colleagues were in the Russian delegation as well. The outcomes of their meeting were reported to the Turkmen President.

Deputy head of the Russian President's administration Dzhokhan Pollyeva is also in the Russian delegation. While in Ashgabad, she discussed cooperation with Turkmenistan in the educational and cultural fields. The Russian Security Council Secretary believes that "there is a number of areas we need to intensify our cooperation in." After the negotiations with the Turkmen President, Vladimir Rushailo together with the Secretary of the Turkmen State Security Council, Redzhepbai Arazov, signed a protocol on cooperation between the Russian and Turkmen Security Councils.

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