Russia, China to hold joint counterterrorism exercises in 2007

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BEIJING, March 2 (RIA Novosti, Alexei Yefimov) - Russia and China plan to hold joint counterterrorism training exercises in the spring of 2007, the Russian interior minister said Thursday.

Rashid Nurgaliyev said, "We have made plans to conduct the exercises in spring 2007 in the South Federal District [of Russia]."

The exercises will involve special forces from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the Russian Interior Ministry, as well as divisions of the Russian Interior Ministry Forces.

"We will develop skills for cooperation in accomplishing objectives to counter the threat of terrorism," Nurgaliyev said, adding that the exercises would be large-scale.

Russia and China held their first joint military exercises, Peace Mission 2005, in August 2005.

The two countries are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security and economic forum founded in Shanghai in July 2001 along with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. An SCO antiterrorism center was opened in Shanghai in 2003.

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