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The Moscow Times, April 23, 2004

Cooperation With U.S. Called Key to Fighting Terror

By Simon Saradzhyan

Russia and the United States need to institutionalize their efforts to disrupt agents of international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction before they link up to carry out attacks of catastrophic proportions, top security analysts from both countries said Thursday.

"The important part of the answer is to embed and integrate the discussion of counter-terrorism into a much more sophisticated multi-dimensional dialogue on a whole range of issues," Strobe Talbott said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference.

Talbott, Alexei Arbatov, former deputy chairman of the State Duma's Defense Committee, and most of the other participants in a panel on security said Moscow and Washington should move beyond the occasional sharing of intelligence and institutionalize their cooperation.

"The main threat to Russia and the U.S. as well as other countries is terrorism and proliferation of WMD, and these threats may merge," Arbatov warned.

He was echoed by Rose Gottemoeller, senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who called for the establishment of joint rapid reaction teams that would be able to interdict and disarm WMD-armed terrorist groups before they strike.

The United States and Russia "are holding each other at arm's length" even though the possibility that terrorists may acquire WMD emerges as the gravest threat to both countries, she said.

Another panel member, however, disagreed.

Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, said international terrorism networks, such as al-Qaida, and proliferation of WMD are not the gravest threats to Russia's national security when compared to such domestic challenges as depopulation and economic dependence on exports of natural resources.

"Al-Qaida doesn't see Russia as an enemy, while those countries that seek WMD do not plan to use them against Russia," Kosachyov said.

Talbott suggested that the NATO-Russia Council be used to institutionalize cooperation between Moscow and the West on terrorism and proliferation.

"The Russian side is missing an opportunity to engage NATO countries on these issues," including not only terrorism, but also Russia's possible contribution to missile defense projects pursued by the United States and other members of the alliance, Talbott said.


See also:

the original at

Russia-US Relations

International Anti-Terror Coalition

Russia and NATO

The Moscow Times, April 23, 2004

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