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Russia
President Vladimir Putin
Moscow, Russia
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.

Thank you.

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