Russian Defense Minister arrives in Kazakhstan to monitor joint CIS military exercise

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and his CIS counterparts arrived Saturday in Almaty, the former capital city of Kazakhstan, to observe the next round of joint CIS military exercises known as Southern Shield 2002.

Mr. Ivanov, who heads the Council of CIS Defense Ministers, told journalists that "joint military exercises like this help raise the level of interaction between the armed forces of the CIS member states." According to the Russian Defense Minister, joint military exercises should be held on a regular basis in various countries of the CIS.

It will be the fourth time the Southern Shield exercises have been held in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The effort has been organized by the CIS Anti-Terrorist Center as part of a joint CIS program for combating international terrorism and extremism.

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