GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany -- U.S. Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, commander of Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, leads the first in a series of conferences Jan. 11 here designed to increase security cooperation between states in the Central and South Asia region.

The Central and South Asian States Regional Security Conference supports the strategic regional goals of the U.S. Central Command and the German Ministry of Defense. Participants will address countering transnational threats such as terrorism, the illegal narcotics trade and border security issues.

The conference objective is to achieve consensus among delegations to establish concrete channels to address counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and border security issues on a regional basis, and agree to release a joint press statement endorsing enhanced regional cooperation. Plans will also be made for further conferences.

The conference is being organized and hosted by the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies here. More than 80 participants are invited to attend, including ministerial-level representatives and high-ranking ministry staff members from Afghanistan, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the United States and Uzbekistan.

Media are invited to cover the remarks by General Barno, who will provide opening and closing remarks. The conference begins at 8:45 a.m. Jan. 11 at the Marshall Center, on Sheridan Barracks in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Interviews with General Barno may be coordinated with the Marshall Center Public Affairs Office. Please contact Joseph Ferrare at 00-49-8821-750-543, mobile 00-49-160-907-32457, or e-mail ferrarej@marshallcenter.org for more information.

The Marshall Center is a renowned U.S. Department of Defense and German Ministry of Defense educational institution. More than 3,200 military and civilian officials from 51 nations have graduated from resident courses and more than 12,300 have attended nearly 200 conferences discussing European and Central Asian security issues since the center was dedicated in 1993.

Unit 24502, ATTN: ECMC-PA APO AE 09053

DSN: 440-2648 DSN Fax: 440-2452

Gernackerstr. 2, Geb.109 D-82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Commercial Tel.: 08821-750 648 Commercial Fax: 08821-750 452

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