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    CIS LEADERS ISSUE STATEMENT CONDEMNING TERRORISM

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    ASTANA, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) adopted a statement condemning terrorism, President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine said at a press conference in the wake of the CIS summit. Leonid Kuchma who headed the Commonwealth's Council of Heads of State ceded the post to Vladimir Putin who at this summit was elected a new chairman of the CIS Council of Heads of State.

    "We adopted the statement which condemns terrorist acts and agreed to intensify work of the anti-terrorist center and to speed up the drafting of a concept of the struggle against international terrorism and other manifestations of extremism," said the Ukrainian President.

    "We expressed solidarity with the Russian people in connection with the recent terrorist acts perpetrated against it," he said.

    The CIS heads of state agreed to speed up the drafting of the concept of struggle against international terrorism and extremism, Kuchma pointed out.

    Apart from that, "a host of important documents was adopted, including the concept of cooperation in counteracting illegal migration, an inter-state program of joint measures in fighting crime for the years 2005-2007, and the program of cooperation in combating illegal trafficking of drugs for the years 2005-2007," the Ukrainian President said.

    In the wake of the Astana summit the CIS leaders adopted an address to the peoples of the Commonwealth states and the international community in connection with the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).

    "All of us are eternally indebted to those who fell in the just and holy war for the freedom and independence of their Homeland, who endured the hardships of the war at the battlefront and routed fascism," says the address.

    "The countries of the anti-Hitler coalition whose peoples also suffered serious losses made their contribution to the rout of fascism. We hope that the states which took part in the war will continue to preserve and take care of war memorials, graves of Soviet soldiers, warriors of the states of the anti-Hitler coalition, the participants of the Resistance movement, and the burials of the victims of fascism," the address stresses.

    The heads of the CIS states agreed to take measures for having the procedures needed for the implementation of agreements on establishing a free trade zone completed, Leonid Kuchma said.

    In his words, the CIS states' efforts in economic interaction are yielding results already today. "We have managed to stop the negative trend when the CIS trade turnover was falling and achieve tangible positive shifts, he stressed.

    According to his data, the index of the CIS economic growth is one of the highest in the world. "On average, the CIS GDP growth in 2003 was 7.2 per cent, industrial production increased by 8 per cent, investments in the basic capital - by 15 per cent," Kuchma specified.

    "The dynamics of growth of macroeconomic indices is also observed this year: over the first six months of 2004 the total trade turnover of the CIS states amounted to $172.9 billion (29.8 per cent rise as against the corresponding period of last year), while the volume of mutual trade of the CIS states was $47.3 billion (growth by 46 per cent)," the Ukrainian President said.

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