CIS Security Ministers Meet in Yerevan

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"We intend cooperation in those fields that pose danger for the entire mankind: arms and drugs trafficking and issues of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Our task is practical work with as littke politics as possible," chief of the Federal Security Service of Russia–Nikolay Kovalev–said upon arrival in Yerevan Sunday to attend a meeting of the Council of CIS Security Chiefs which began on Monday.

The three-day meeting will discuss issues of coordination of search operations–the activities of security agencies in preventing damage to the economies of CIS-member countries and preventing illegal money laundring–as well as issues related to combating terrorism. The meeting will be held behind closed doors.

Kovalev–stressed the importance of the meeting before the Summit of CIS Heads of State scheduled to be held in Moscow on April 29.

"Today–we are moving along the path of both multilateral and bilateral cooperation and issues of concrete co-ordinated action will be discussed with chiefs of all special services. I am scheduled to meet with almost every single delegation. There will be occasions to discuss issues of mutual concern. It is during these meetings that concrete joint bilateral operations planned by special services will be discussed," said Kovalev.

According to the Russian official–as a result of cooperation between CIS special services 52 tons of illegal drugs were confiscated last year. "It’s easy to imagine that the health of the entire nation is behind that figure. Therefore–it is one of the top-priority issues on which we are going to focus. The issue of establishment and operation of a single database is also a priority," said Kovalev.

Asked whether Armenia enters the sphere of Russia’s interest–Kovalev said: "I think that it is beyond doubt that we both enter each other’s sphere of interest."

Only ten of the eleven delegations invited to attend the meeting are in attendance.

The Georgian delegation led by National Security Ministry chief Jemal Gakhokhidze arrived first.

Later–the delegation of the Ukraine led by the deputy security chief–Major-General Youri Vandin arrived. The delegation from Azerbaijan led by National Security Ministry chief Fuad Iskanderov did not appear.

The guests were greeted by Armenia’s Interior and National Security Minister Serge Sargssian–ministry officials and steering committee members.

The participants attending the Yerevan meeting were expected to be received by President Robert Kocharian late Monday.

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