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SCO conducts counter-terrorism exercises in Kyrgyzstan

RIA Novosti

30/05/2007 11:13 BISHKEK, May 30 (RIA Novosti) - A Eurasian security bloc comprising five former Soviet republics and China started Wednesday an active phase of joint counter-terrorism exercises at a lake in eastern Kyrgyzstan.

The Issyk Kul Antiterror 2007 exercises involve special forces units and law enforcement agencies of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, and are being held at military training grounds by Lake Issyk Kul.

Chairman of the Kyrgyz State Committee on National Security, Murat Sutalinov said the main goal was to practice inter-operability between security bodies, police and the military in large-scale operations aimed against terrorists, illegal militant groups and border trespassers.

The exercises will continue until May 31.

The SCO was set up a decade ago to deal with Islamic extremism and other security threats in Central Asia, but has since expanded its scope to include cooperation in disaster relief and trade.

The SCO is set to hold a summit on June 15, bringing together the presidents of member nations Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China, as well as the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia, which currently have observer status in the alliance, but have expressed an interest in becoming full members.

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