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Russia
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Interview with CNN
September 12, 2001

QUESTION: Of course, the most important question now is who stands behind this terrorist act? Has Russia any information as to who could have planned and carried out this attack?

ANSWER: First of all, I would like to express the most sincere condolences over yesterday's tragedy, which has befallen the residents of New York, Washington and the whole American people. We together with the American people are feeling this tragedy keenly. It is necessary to proceed from the assumption that a challenge of international terrorism has been thrown down not only to the Americans, but also to all civilized mankind. Therefore, from our point of view, the response to this must be a joint one. Russia is not only expressing condolences, but is also ready, as stated by President Vladimir Putin, to render all necessary assistance.

Today Putin has announced that on September 13 at 12:00 a minute's silence will be declared throughout the country as a token of mourning for the victims of this tragedy. National flags will be flying at half-mast throughout the country.

When I am saying there must be a joint reaction by the international community, this means that we must together work out a global system of counteraction against new threats and challenges. This tragedy has shown that the international community today is not ready to give a serious rebuff to the challenges and threats we are being confronted with. International terrorism, organized crime and the spread of narcotics are all interrelated. These structures are well organized, while the civilized community, unfortunately, is not yet organized properly. Therefore, along with the identification of the authors of this crime we must give thought to what ought to be done to prevent a repetition of such tragedies.

It is perfectly clear that today not one country can deal with these problems single-handed. They have a global character, and hence the need for coordination. As soon as possible, within the UN and other forums, we must begin seriously discussing the possibilities to create a global system of counteraction against the new threats and challenges.

QUESTION: If the US obtains reliable evidence of the involvement in these terrorist acts of specific individuals and deliver a missile strike at the place where they are stationed, will Russia support this action?

ANSWER: It is now too early to speak of what the actions might be. Appropriate decisions will be taken by the US administration depending on information obtained. But even an act of retribution, whatever it may be, cannot solve the problem in the long term. There can be no one-off solution. Long-term forms of cooperation are necessary and development of measures which would permit avoiding such tragedies. Now it has affected the US, but where's the guarantee that tomorrow this will not occur in another country.

Therefore I won't discuss what measures will be taken by the US. Russia's reaction will be one of solidarity where it concerns our close and effective cooperation.

QUESTION: What specifically can be done in terms of counteraction against international terrorism?

ANSWER: We've been talking quite a lot about the problem of international terrorism, making various statements, but matters haven't moved at all beyond this. The international community has no mechanisms by which to reveal and prevent crimes. Such structures ought to be created by joint efforts. That's where our efforts will be directed. Within the CIS, for example, we've already got the Antiterrorist Center, which is devising mechanisms of preventive action and the fight against terrorism. The same kind of structure we're setting up together with China, and the Central Asian states within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We have begun to create antiterrorist centers at the regional level, but it is today perfectly clear that a global system is necessary.

QUESTION: The US and Russia are spending enormous money on the fight against terrorism. Why was nobody able to prevent this tragedy?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, the situation is so developing that many extremist organizations possess more effective structures today than those of democratic states, which are obliged to respect international law, to abide by the laws and to be guided by civilized norms, whereas for criminals norms do not at all exist. Therefore we must create mechanisms which would shut off the sources of financing for extremist organizations and would not give them an opportunity to act. This was spoken of at last year's UN summit during the meeting of the heads of the states permanent members of the Security Council. Unfortunately, nothing has been done in this regard so far. It is necessary to switch from general political declarations to concrete moves and actions. Russia is ready to submit appropriate proposals in the very near future.

QUESTION: How will the terrorist acts influence the course of the Russian-US ABM talks?

ANSWER: I wouldn't like somebody to think that we want to exploit this difficult moment for the US in the debates with our American partners on START and ABM. Consultations are going on, there continues the constructive dialogue. The US administration knows the stand of Russia. And we will continue to negotiate and to uphold our position. But we have always said that it is necessary to take a realistic view of the threats now facing mankind. Above all, it is, of course, terrorism. And this problem by virtue of objective reasons is today more urgent than, say, missile defense. Yes, START-ABM issues have to be discussed, and we will be doing so. At the same time urgent measures are required to counter the new threats and challenges, and here the US and we have a large field for coordination and cooperation.

END


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© Publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.