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    MOSCOW, April 2, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Rashid Nurgaliyev, Russia's interior minister, and Vladimir Naumov, Belarus' interior minister, plan to lead a joint operation in the Russian-Belarussian border regions against international criminal groups.

    The press service of Russia's Interior Ministry told RIA Novosti that an agreement on the operations was reached on Friday at a meeting in Moscow. Mr. Naumov is visiting Russia at the invitation of Mr. Nurgaliyev.

    "The objective of the operation is to prevent the illegal export of cultural valuables and precious stones and metals, motor vehicles and weapons, as well as to block illegal migration and human trafficking routes," a press service official said.

    According to him, the issue of deepening bilateral cooperation in the struggle against organized crime, giving assistance in the extradition of criminals and stemming drugs trafficking were discussed in the course of the talks. The problems of illegal migration, the coordination of efforts in the fight against computer crimes and the safety cargo transportation were also discussed.

    "An agreement to make preparations for the regular meeting of the joint Board of the Interior Ministry of the Union State, scheduled to be held in Mogilyov (Belarus) in May 2004, was attained at the meeting," the representative said.

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