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    DUMA SPEAKER: POTENTIAL OF CIS COLECTIVE SECURITY TREATY IS LARGELY UNDERTAPPED

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 2, 2004, RIA NOVOSTI - Boris Gryzlov, Speaker of the State Duma, or Russia's lower house of parliament, believes that the potential of the CIS Collective Security Treaty is largely undertapped.

    The implementation of the CIS Collective Security Treaty is one of Russia's key priorities in the Commonwealth of Independent States [a loose confederation of former Soviet republics], and the Russian government would like this treaty to work more effectively, Gryzlov said to Azeri reporters ahead of a visit to Moscow by the new President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

    The signatories to the CIS Collective Security Treaty include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

    In reply to a question about Russia's attitude to the intention of some CIS member states to join NATO, the Duma Speaker pointed out that every sovereign state has the right to seek admission to whatever international alliance it wishes to join.

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