Regional Leaders In Dushanbe Discuss Drugs, Security, Trade
At a regional summit today, the presidents of Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan discussed how to prevent illegal drugs moving through the region, and the security measures needed to do so.
In a joint statement following their talks in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, Russia's Dmitry Medvedev, Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari, Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai, and Tajikistan's Emomali Rahmon agreed to work more closely to combat extremism and drug trafficking.
The leaders also urged the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan to step up the training of local security forces as it completes its planned staged withdrawal.
The leaders said that the "reduction of foreign military presence in Afghanistan should be accompanied by adequate increase of efforts by the participants of the international coalition for training and arming Afghan national security structures."
Medvedev, who also held bilateral meetings with Karzai and Zardari, said that true stability and rule of law in the region can only be achieved by local governments.
The four leaders also pledged cooperation on regional energy projects and transport corridors.
Meeting on the sidelines of the summit, Medvedev and Rahmon signed an agreement on cooperation in guarding Tajikistan's frontier with Afghanistan and discussed extending Russia's use of military facilities in Tajikistan.
The two presidents watched as another agreement on cooperation in securing Tajikistan's southern border was signed by Russia's Federal Security Service and Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security.
During the last year, Russian officials have been speaking about a return of Russian border guards to Tajikistan. The Russian guards withdrew from the Tajik-Afghan border in 2005.
Medvedev and Rahmon also agreed to sign a formal agreement early next year extending the presence of Russia's 201st Division in Tajikistan for another 49 years.
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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