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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Shanghai group condemns attacks
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By BBC Central Asia correspondent Catherine Davis

Prime Ministers of Russia, China and four Central Asian states have underlined the need for united efforts to fight international terrorism following Tuesday's devastating attacks on the United States.

They said events this week had shown that international terrorism knew no constraints, national or moral.

Shanghai Co-operation Organisation
Russia
China
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Uzbekistan
Tajikistan
The comments came in a statement issued after a meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation in the Kazakh city, Almaty.

The prime ministers also issued a memorandum on further developing trade and economic co-operation among member states.

Sorrow and anger

This was a special statement issued in response to what it called an unprecedented act of terrorism.

Expressing both sorrow and anger it stressed the need for joint action and said the group was ready to work closely with all concerned to fight what was a global threat.

The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation has come to focus on security issues more and more in recent years. It has already called for an international anti-terrorism centre to be set up.

Today's statement reiterated the organisation's commitment to fighting terrorism, religious extremism and separatism.

Afghan threat

The group considers Afghanistan, which lies to their south, a major source of instability.

  • The Central Asian states are Muslim but their secular governments are deeply wary of radical or political Islam.

  • Russia believes what happens in this region has implications for its own security.

  • China, for its part, is anxious to prevent its restive Muslim population gaining support from fellow Muslims in Central Asia.

While the prime ministers meeting in Kazakhstan called for joint efforts to fight international terrorism, their statement made no mention of any specific response in connection with Tuesday's attacks.

The Kazakh Prime Minister, Kasymzhomart Tokayev, said the issue of a possible military strike on Afghanistan and how that might impact Central Asia was not discussed.

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