The meeting between senior security officials from Britain and Russia in London

Sergei Ivanov, the secretary of Russia's security council held talks in London on Tuesday with senior British intelligence officers in a move reflecting increasingly close co-operation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism and drug-traffickers. Mr Ivanov met Peter Ricketts, chairman of Whitehall's joint intelligence committee, and other officials. It was the first meeting between such senior security officials from Britain and Russia. At a press conference Mr Ivanov made it clear that terrorism featured prominently on the agenda. He referred repeatedly to Chechnya and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and to what he called "pseudo-religious organisations [masquerading] under the guise of the Muslim religion". He raised the activities of the Halo Trust mine clearing charity whose members Moscow accused earlier this year of subversive actions in Chechnya. Ivanov, who also met Tony Blair, said the British government shared Moscow's views on what he called "the horrible evil" of terrorism and the need to counter money-laundering. He added that Russia had learned from "the UK's positive experiences in Northern Ireland", Reuters reports. Ivanov also raised American plans for a national missile defence system, a project which will mean amending or scrapping the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty signed by the US and the then Soviet Union in 1972.

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