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The heads of state of the Caucasian Four met in Minsk

May 31, 2001, Minsk

Established on a Russian initiative in 1996, the Caucasian Four brought together Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

Mr Putin, Mr Aliyev, Mr Kocharian and Mr Shevardnadze discussed regional security and refugee problems, and many aspects of social and cultural cooperation.

In their joint statement, the Presidents expressed their alarm that terrorism and extremism were spreading through the Caucasus in many manifestations, badly endangering the peaceful future of the region. They said that the threat had to be removed.

As Mr Putin was addressing a news conference after the meeting, he stressed the importance of closer contacts between the Caucasian states—in particular, between the Speakers of their respective Parliaments.

May 31, 2001, Minsk