Kremlin foreign policy coordinator Sergei Yastrzhembsky yesterday announced that Moscow is drafting a “special treaty to legalize the new association of three countries”–Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan–“for resisting religious extremism.” According to Yastrzhembsky, the treaty and the “association” will be open to all countries that share its goals. He also used the term “alliance” to describe the hoped-for bloc.
Yastrzhembsky singled out Kyrgyzstan as an early candidate for accession, since “President Askar Akaev has taken under his personal control the spread of religious extremism in the country” and “instructed the special services to take measures to curb it.” (Itar-Tass, May 14) Yastrzhembsky–like most Russian and Central Asian involved in this scheme–described the main enemy in Central Asia as “Wahhabism.” The term is intended to create confusion about the real geopolitical objectives of the treaty in areas of Central Asia that have nothing to do with Wahhabism (see the Monitor, May 6 and 12). — VS
CHINA AND KAZAKHSTAN CONSOLIDATE RELATIONS.