Russian minister: hostage-taking in Moscow is international terrorism's attack on society's stability

Vladimir Zorin, Russian Minister for Ethnic Policy Issues, considers the hostage-taking in Moscow to be international terrorism's attack at society's stability. The minister told this to the press on Thursday.

"We must be fully aware of the fact that a group of terrorists cannot represent a whole nation, and I would like to warn against hasty conclusions and to prevent an aggravation of inter-ethnic relations in Moscow and in the country," said Zorin.

In Zorin's opinion, the fanning of ethnic discord is one of the aims pursued by the group of terrorists. He drew attention to the reports that the terrorists had divided the hall according to nationality and confession.

"I think that we must not follow that logic," stressed the minister.

Zorin spoke positively of the initiative of the Chechen diaspora which took up an active stand in the drama and offered its services to settle it. At the same time, the minister urged that all the actions be coordinated with the operational headquarters, noting that it includes skilled people who know well the style of the terrorists.

At present, the terrorists are holding about 500 hostages in the building of the Theatre Centre in Dubrovka where in the evening of October 23rd the musical Nord-Ost was shown. Altogether 711 tickets were sold for the show that evening. One of the hostages said that among the people seized by the terrorists were 62 foreign citizens.