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    ASTANA, January 10th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - There have been no official announcement of a tender for creating integrated air defence system of Kazakhstan, said a spokesman for the Kazakh government.

    Earlier, a source in the Russian government said that Russia had received an invitation to participate in the relevant tender a few days before.

    He recalled that the Kazakh government had recently decided to hold such a tender and even set the timeframe.

    The agency's spokesman said that the deadline was quite short - the first quarter of this year, which is not enough considering the project costs over a billion dollars.

    The source added that the issue was already being negotiated with UK, French and US companies.

    At the same time, the source continued, "we do not see this issue as commercial only but also as the one linked to collective security." In his words, this is clear from the relevant CIS agreements and the Collective Security Treaty. This is an essential aspect of a normal collective security system in the air defence that should not be disregarded," he said.

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