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Tuesday, September 25, 2001, updated at 10:36(GMT+8)

Putin Formulates Russia's Position on US Strikes

Putin Formulates Russia's Position on US Strikes
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday put forward five principles on Russia's position on possible US retaliatory strikes against terrorism.

Making a nation-wide televised address in the ORT television, Putin urged intensive cooperation among the intelligence services of various countries for tracking down international terrorists and their bases.

The President pledged to open Russia's airspace for the delivery of humanitarian cargoes to the site of possible anti- terrorist operation.

He stressed that Russia decided its position after consultation with its Central Asian allies, which are considering making their airfields available for the operation

Putin also noted Russia's readiness to take part in a possible international search and rescue operation within the framework of anti-terrorist operation.

The last principle, Putin said, is to expand cooperation with the internationally recognized Afghan government of Burhanuddin Rabbani and to give its armed forces additional assistance in the form of weapons supplies.

The President also spoke of the creation of a special group to deal with Russia's cooperation with countries participating in the counter-terrorist operation. He said the team, headed by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, will "collect and analyze information and exchange it with the participants in the operation."

Putin also called to strengthen the role of the U. N. and its Security Council in the fight against international terrorism. It is necessary to improve international legal basis in order to make an effective and timely response to terror acts, Putin said.

"The Russian Federation has been fighting international terrorism for a long time, counting only on itself, and has repeatedly called on the world community to join hands," he added.

Putin made the remarks shortly after his meeting with parliamentary leaders on the issue.

Russia Rules Out Participation in US Strikes

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on Monday ruled out Russia's participation in a possible US-led military operation against international terrorists.

"That is absolutely impossible. It is out of the question," Ivanov told reporters here.

Ivanov said a senior Pentagon delegation will come to Moscow for discussion of possible military action against the Afghan Taliban movement late next week.

He also said Russia had been supplying Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, which is fighting against the Taliban, with weapons "for the past few years." "Russia has not acted alone on those lines," he said.

"Iran and India have also been helping us," he added.

Ivanov said the Northern Alliance leadership asked him for weapons and humanitarian help for fears that refugees may flood territory under their control.

The minister insisted the international community also give humanitarian aid to the Northern Alliance.

Commenting on President Vladimir Putin's pledge to offer airspace for the delivery of humanitarian relief to the war site, Ivanov said armaments must not be on any transit aircraft, whether it is military or civilian.

Russian Foreign Ministry said on the same day that it is considering evacuating its diplomatic missions in Pakistan, members of their families and other Russians permanently living in this country if the situation there deteriorates.

The ministry "maintains constant contact with the Russian embassy in Islamabad and the consulate general in Karachi. It is taking a set of measures to ensure the security of Russian citizens," a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday in connection with possible U.S. strikes against neighboring Afghanistan.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday put forward five principles on Russia's position on possible US retaliatory strikes against terrorism.

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