CENTRAL ASIAN MILITARY UNIT NEARS BIRTH.

Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 89

In the summit’s most important political decision, the three presidents finalized measures to create a joint peacekeeping battalion, CentrAsBat, this year. The 500-strong unit is to be comprised of special units of the three countries and stationed in Kazakhstan’s Chimkent region. Its financing will be shared by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with 40 percent each and the smaller Kyrgyzstan at 20 percent. The presidents plan to have CentrAsBat trained under NATO’s partnership for Peace program, participate in PfP joint exercises, and operate as an official UN force in peacekeeping missions in Asia or the outside world. They also may envisage a regional collective defense role for CentrAsBat, as Nazarbayev seemed to suggest in telling a concluding briefing that the unit is not meant to support territorial claims against any state "but we don’t want other states to have territorial claims against us." (Western agencies, Interfax, May 6)

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