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04-04-06, 10:40
China, Turkmenistan step up anti-terror measures
04 Apr 2006 12:30:57 GMT
Source: Reuters

BEIJING, April 4 (Reuters) - China and Turkmenistan agreed on Tuesday to fight terrorism together, Xinhua news agency reported during a visit to Beijing by Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov.

The two countries would "further enhance law-enforcement cooperation in (the) security and anti-terrorism sector", Xinhua said, quoting a joint statement.

Many of the 19 million Muslim Uighurs who make up the majority of China's western Xinjiang province want more autonomy for the region. Some have staged riots and bomb attacks to try to establish an independent state they call "East Turkistan".

China is especially keen to maintain stability in the region as it contains 30 percent of the country's oil reserves.

"Terrorism, splittism and extremism pose a grave threat to the security and stability in the region," a statement signed by Niyazov and Chinese President Hu Jintao said.

"The two countries agreed that it is an important component of the worldwide war against terrorism to crack down on the separatist forces of 'East Turkistan'," Xinhua said.

Niyazov and Hu on Monday oversaw the signing of several bilateral agreements, including one expanding energy cooperation.

Niyazov has exercised harsh one-man rule in his Central Asian country since 1985, and he has cultivated a cult of personality echoing the country's Stalinist past under the Soviet Union. He styles himself as the "Turkmenbashi", or father of the Turkmen.

Hu said Niyazov was a "good friend" and called his six-day visit to China that began on Sunday a "new milestone".

04-04-06, 12:33
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