By Hrach Melkumian
High-ranking security officials from Armenia, Russia and ten other former Soviet republics began on Thursday a two-day meeting in Yerevan to discuss joint measures to combat crime across the Commonwealth of Independent States. Ministers and deputy ministers of interior from the loose grouping of ex-Soviet states reviewed progress in the implementation of a three-year anti-criminality plan agreed by their governments last year.
Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said the CIS Council of Interior Ministers will also discuss ways of countering drug trafficking and “international terrorism,” a term Moscow frequently uses to describe Islamic militants in Chechnya and Central Asia. Several multilateral agreements are due to be signed on Friday.
Kyrgyz Interior Minister Tashtemir Aitbayev, who opened the meeting, said it "will make a substantial contribution to the common cause of struggle against crime and… will strengthen interaction between the [law-enforcement] services in the main directions of their activities".
Meeting with CIS chiefs later in the day, President Robert Kocharian said he hopes they will give a new impetus to their cooperation.
Also taking part in the two-day meeting is Azerbaijan’s Interior Minister Ramil Usubov. Visits by senior Armenian and Azerbaijani officials to each other’s countries are rare.