President Vladimir Putin
September 24, 2001
Following the barbaric terrorist acts in New York and Washington on September
11 this year, the world is still living under the impression of this tragedy.
The Russian Federation has been fighting international terrorism for a long
time now, relying exclusively on its own resources, and it has repeatedly urged
the international community to join efforts. Russia's position is unchanged:
we, naturally, are still ready to make a contribution to the struggle against
terror. We believe that first and foremost it is necessary to give attention
to reinforcing the role of those international agencies and institutions which
were established for strengthening international security. These are the UN
and the UN Security Council. It is also necessary to energetically get down
to improving the international legal framework so that it would make it possible
to promptly and efficiently respond to acts of terrorism.
As for the planned anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, we formulate our
position as follows.
First, vigorous international cooperation between special services. Russia is
supplying and intends to continue to supply the information available to it
about the infrastructure and locations of international terrorists and about
the bases training militants.
Second, we are prepared to make the Russian Federation's air space available
for the flights-through of planes carrying humanitarian cargo to the area of
that anti-terrorist operation.
Third, we have agreed the above position with our allies from among Central
Asian nations. They share this position and do not rule out for themselves the
possibility of making their airfields available.
Fourth, Russia is also ready, if need be, to take part in international search
and rescue operations.
Fifth, we will broaden cooperation with the internationally recognized government
of Afghanistan led by Mr. Rabbani and provide additional support to his armed
forces in the form of arms and military hardware supplies.
Other, more extensive forms of Russia's cooperation with the participants in
the anti-terrorist operation are possible. The extent and character of this
cooperation will directly depend on the overall level and quality of our relations
with those countries and on mutual understanding in fighting international terrorism.
I have formed a team led by Defense Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei
Ivanov to coordinate work on all the matters I have outlined above. This team
will collect and analyze incoming information and collaborate with the participants
in the operation in practical terms.
We also believe that what is happening in Chechnya cannot be viewed out of the
context of the fight against international terrorism. At the same time we understand
that these events have a history of their own. I allow for there still being
people in Chechnya who have taken up arms under the influence of false or warped
values. Now that the civilized world has defined its position on fighting terror,
everyone should define his or her position as well. This chance should also
be offered to those who have not yet laid down arms in Chechnya.
That is why I offer all the participants in the unlawful armed militias and
those who call themselves political leaders to immediately cease all contacts
with international terrorists and their organizations and to contact official
representatives of the federal authorities within 72 hours to discuss the following
questions: procedures for the disarmament of these unlawful armed militias and
groups and procedures for their integration in peaceful life in Chechnya. Viktor
Kazantsev, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian
Federation in the Southern Federal District, of which Chechnya is part, will
be authorized to make such contacts on behalf of the federal authorities.
I would also like to use this opportunity to say a few words about my meeting
today with the heads of the Moslem religious boards of Russia. That meeting
took place on their initiative. They have proposed holding an International
Islamic Conference in Moscow on the theme "Islam Against Terror."
I share their concern over the situation taking shape in the world. Undoubtedly,
support will be given to holding the conference. I believe that it is only with
the active involvement of religious communities themselves that effective struggle
could be mounted against religious extremism and fanaticism, not just Islamic
but any other as well.