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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin and CIS Partners Vow to Boost Security

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BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Russia vowed on Wednesday to work with five of its ex-Soviet allies to boost security in volatile Central Asia and the Caucasus.

President Vladimir Putin and the presidents of Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Kazakhstan signed two documents saying they would give "practical meaning" to a Collective Security Treaty of 1992.

"Our meeting this time was of a more concrete nature on how to guarantee security in our region," Putin told a joint news conference.

"It is time to boost the effectiveness of the treaty and follow the path of military cooperation," said Askar Akayev, the president of Kyrgyzstan, which throughout has been battling Islamist rebels thought to be from Tajikistan.

The leaders said they had taken forward an agreement signed in Minsk earlier this year, although there were few details.

Proposals include drawing up a plan for the period 2000-05 and deciding the status of a potential security force to be created by the six participant states.

Analysts note that the treaty’s practical results since its inception have been negligible. They see the group as yet another forum to extend Russia’s influence over Central Asia, an oil-rich region once seen as the Soviet Union’s soft underbelly.

On Wednesday, as in the past, the focus was Afghanistan. Russia accuses Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban of fomenting terrorism in areas ranging from Chechnya to Kashmir in India.

It blames Kabul for recent incursions of gunmen into Central Asia as well as a booming drug trade in the former Soviet Union.

"We appeal to the international community to actively seek ways to restore peace in Afghanistan," a joint declaration said.

The treaty also allows Russia a chance to secure weapons contracts. Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said arms would be sold to partners at cheaper prices. "Everyone benefits," he told reporters.

Russia’s five partners appear to have re-grouped around Moscow with renewed enthusiasm since Putin came to power.

Since taking office he has traveled to Uzbekistan, promising support in case of foreign attacks, and Turkmenistan, securing a key energy deal.