17 ASIAN STATES ADOPT CATALOGUE OF CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES

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ALMATY, October 22, (RIA Novosti) - Participants of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, or CICA, have adopted a Catalogue of Confidence-Building Measures at their meeting in Almaty (Kazakhstan).

The Catalogue, as regards military political issues, includes an exchange of information about components of armed forces, defence budgets, and the presence of foreign military contingents on the territories of member-countries "if disclosing of this information is allowed by the country accommodating such a contingent". It is also planned to give notification of a scheduled military activity, including exercises involving foreign military contingents, and invitation of observers from member-countries to military exercises.

The Catalogue also includes the possibility of using a mechanism of consultations on "unforeseen and dangerous incidents of a military nature, especially if such incidents occur in direct proximity to border areas of CICA member-countries".

The Catalogue is not a binding document, but CICA participants may, on a bilateral or a multilateral basis, agree on the fulfilment of those measures which they consider themselves ready to carry out.

CICA participants intend to adopt joint measures to fight terrorism and prevent activity of extremist organisations. This point is also included in the Catalogue.

It also stipulates steps to develop cooperation in an exchange of information for effectively countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles.

The Catalogue also includes an exchange of information about measures against drug trafficking, trade in people, money laundering, trans-boundary organised crime, trade in light small arms, including portable and air defence missile systems, and smuggling of explosive substances and toxic materials.

The Catalogue says that CICA participants propose to exchange information on natural and industrial disasters on these territories, which may do damage to neighbouring countries.

The Catalogue provides for the drafting and application of environmental protection programmes, especially in border areas.

Besides, planned measures include creation of a common data base and a system for exchanging information in trade and economic areas. CICA participants intend to exchange information on suspicious financial deals and illegal foreign transactions, and help develop contacts between competent authorities.

Conference participants supported the forthcoming holding of an international conference on Iraq on November 23-25, spoke in support of six-way negotiations on North Korea and an early conclusion of mutually acceptable agreements, says a joint declaration adopted at the end of the meeting.

CICA members are 17 states - Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, China, Kirghizia, Mongolia, Palestine, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Thailand (which became a Conference member today).

The Russian delegation at the ministerial meeting is led by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

This is the second meeting of CICA foreign ministers. The first meeting, held in September of 1999, adopted the Declaration of Principles regulating relations between CICA member-countries.

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