Nations seek cooperation against terrorist activities

Thursday, September 20, 2001

MOSCOW -- Russian and U.S. officials agreed Wednesday on increasing joint and individual efforts against the threat of terrorism from Afghanistan, home base of the main suspect in last week's terror attacks, Osama bin Laden.

But statements by both sides, issued after daylong meetings, didn't address whether Russia would participate in a potential U.S. attack on Afghanistan to retaliate for last week's hijackings in America.

Earlier Wednesday, Gen. Anatoly Kvashnin, the chief of Russia's General Staff, said during a visit to Tajikistan that Moscow "has not considered, and is not planning to consider, participation in a military operation against Afghanistan."

Kvashnin's statement came as a U.S. delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage met a team of senior Russian officials, led by First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov, a former director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service.

"Agreement was reached to further enhance joint and parallel efforts to counter threats coming from the Taliban in Afghanistan," the statements said, referring to the militia that rules most of Afghanistan and that has offered shelter to bin Laden.

In Germany, the government approved measures Wednesday that are designed to prevent terrorists from using the country as a base, and promised to spend an extra $1.4 billion on the fight against terror groups.

The money, which would be added to the 2002 budget, is to strengthen the country's intelligence, security and prosecution services and combat money laundering in the wake of last week's attacks on the United States.

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