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Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 12:49 GMT
Shanghai Five discuss anti-terrorism centre

Security experts from China, Russia and three central Asian states have begun talks in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, about setting up an anti-terrorism centre in Central Asia.

Opening the meeting, the deputy secretary of Kyrgyztan's security council, Askar Mameyev, said it was necessary for Kyrgyztan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to pool their efforts with Russia and China as soon as possible because, he said, religious extremists, separatists and international terrorists were stepping up their activity in the region.

The creation of a joint headquarters to coordinate the fight against armed insurgents was first mooted at last year's summit of the five countries' leaders.

It followed attacks on Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan by rebels from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The current meeting is expected to decide organisational matters before the matter is put on the agenda of the next summit.

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