Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 95

The commander of Russia’s border troops, General Andrei Nikolaev, urged Azerbaijan in a public statement yesterday to "take a more active part in integration processes within the CIS" in general and specifically to sign an agreement on joint defense of "CIS external borders." The commander of Azerbaijan’s border troops, Maj. General Abbasali Novruzov, replied — also publicly — yesterday that "Azerbaijan proceeded from its national interest in refusing to sign that agreement." Novruzov said Azerbaijan favors signing an existing draft agreement on cooperation in protecting the Russian-Azerbaijani border against smuggling, while at the same time substantially simplifying the procedures for legal travel across that border. (Itar-Tass, May 15)

Russia has agreements with Armenia and Georgia on joint protection of "CIS external borders." Such arrangements entail deployment of Russian border troops on the borders of CIS member countries opposite non-CIS countries and the sharing of border protection expenses. To pressure Azerbaijan into signing such an agreement, Moscow has repeatedly accused it of facilitating the movement of supplies for the Chechen resistance from Turkey and has for long periods of time closed the Russian-Azerbaijani border to commercial transport vital to Azerbaijan.

Georgia Outraged by Russian Celebration Plan.