Russian Security Council Secretary visits Azerbaijan

On a two-day visit to Baku on 19-20 February, Vladimir Rushailo held talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ramiz Mekhtiev, Azerbaijani National Security Minister Namig Abbasov, and President Heidar Aliev, Russian and Azerbaijani news agencies reported. Both sides expressed satisfaction at growing bilateral cooperation in combating cross-border crime, extremism, and drug trafficking. Rushailo also noted with approval the level of cooperation between Azerbaijani security agencies and their counterparts in neighboring Daghestan, reported. Rushailo's two-hour meeting with Aliev on 20 February focused at length on the Karabakh conflict, which Rushailo reportedly said must be resolved in such a way as to preserve Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, according to on 21 February. Rushailo also handed Aliev a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who described maintaining long-term security and stability in the Caucasus as a key priority shared by the two countries, Turan reported. Also on 20 February, Rushailo and Mekhtiev signed a plan for further cooperation between their respective agencies in the struggle against crime, drug trafficking, and international terrorism for the period 2003-04. LF


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