Blair's South Asian Tour Was "timely," Says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent tour of South Asian nations, including Afghanistan, to be "extremely timely." According to presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov, President Putin made this clear in a telephone conversation with the British Premier on Thursday. It was Mr. Blair who gave Mr. Putin a call. President Putin congratulated the British leader on the successful completion of Britain's "challenging mission," which he said was an appreciable contribution to the international anti-terror effort. Messrs. Putin and Blair exchanged opinions on the latest developments in Afghanistan, posting similar views of Afghan stabilization arrangements and of the India-Pakistan conflict's political settlement. According to Gromov, both sides stressed the fundamental importance of preventing all kinds of terrorist activity from Pakistani territory for the resumption of the dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad. During their telephone conversation, President Putin and Premier Blair also discussed several other issues of Russo-British interaction in international affairs, spokesman Gromov reports.

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