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    MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - During a meeting today, Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev told President Vladimir Putin about how preparations were proceeding for a joint board meeting of the Russian and Belarus interior ministries.

    Mr. Nurgaliyev said that his counterpart from Belarus, Vladimir Naumov, had visited Moscow last week.

    According to Mr. Nurgaliyev, more than 11 special operations, the results of which have already been seen, were conducted by the two countries' interior ministries last year.

    The minister also outlined measures that have been planned as part of the Border-2004 operation.

    Apart from the fight against organized crime, Mr. Nurgaliyev said that Russia and Belarus were making efforts together to combat automobile theft.

    "Taking into account the seriousness of the problem not only for Russia and Belarus, but also for Europe," Mr. Nurgaliyev told Vladimir Putin, "we invited representatives of the German police to take part in the operation." According to the minister, the joint board of the two ministries will be held from May 21 to 22.

    Mr. Nurgalieyv also told President Putin, at the latter's request, about the general state with regard to crime in the country, placing the main emphasis on work to prevent and solve race-related crimes.

    Mr. Nurgaliyev said that race-related crimes were subject to particular control in his ministry. A number of suspects have already been detained in a series of cases.

    The minister said that police officers were particularly thorough in their investigations of such incidents and also sought the people behind the crimes.

    President Putin told the minister that attention to this problem could not be allowed to become a second priority.

    "I instruct you to personally follow the investigations of cases in this sphere," Vladimir Putin said.


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