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    STATE DUMA RATIFIES AGREEMENT

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 18, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/ -- The State Duma ratified an agreement, which was signed by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's countries, and which calls for establishing the regional anti-terror structure, here today.

    This agreement was unveiled by Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Safonov, who noted that the regional anti-terrorist structure's creation amounted to unique experience of establishing a supra-national anti-terrorist agency. Moreover, the regional anti-terrorist structure is an extremely important element of fighting extremism and terrorism. This structure pools the efforts of various law-enforcement agencies and secret services from all countries, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Safonov told his audience.

    Safonov reminded those present that President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation had signed the agreement on establishing the afore-said regional anti-terrorist structure in June 2002 at a summit involving the leaders of all Shanghai Cooperation Organization members, i.e. Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Kirghizia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in St. Petersburg. This document was elaborated and concluded in accordance with article 10 of the Shanghai convention on fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism.

    This document determines the regional anti-terrorist center's structure, main tasks, functions, specific principles for establishing its bodies, as well as the relevant procedure for dealing with other international organizations, Safonov explained.

    Moreover, Safonov believes that the regional anti-terrorist structure's creation meets Russia's long-term political interests on the international scene, also enhancing its positions in the highly important Central Asian region.

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