Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, and Imomali Rahmonov of Tajikistan agreed today to set up a “troika” with a view to resisting “the advance of Islamic fundamentalism.” The troika is also supposed to support pacification in Tajikistan and stability in Central Asia in general. The decision was made at a meeting among Yeltsin and Karimov in the Kremlin today. The Russian president telephoned Rahmonov who instantly adhered to the initiative. Yeltsin stressed the need for “imparting a strategic character to our cooperation” in countering “the ideological threat from the south.” (Itar-Tass, May 6) The latter reference would seem to target Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, not Moscow’s ally Iran. Moscow intermittently brandishes the Taliban threat to draw Central Asian countries into a political and security alignment with Russia. Karimov has just made a highly alarmist speech about a purported Islamic threat to Uzbekistan (See the Monitor, May 5) — VS
WESTERN INVESTORS UPBEAT BUT URGE POLICY CONTINUITY IN KAZAKHSTAN.