Putin points out Saudi, Chechen blast link

There is a certain and close link between the latest terror acts in Chechnya and Saudi Arabia, says Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

The two blasts coincided in all details, and brought similar tragic fruit, the President pointed out as he was opening conference with Lord George Robertson, NATO Secretary-General, currently in Moscow.

With yesterday's blast in Znamenskoye, a district centre in Chechnya, destructive forces based in the republic and outside it attempted to bar the Chechen people's road to peace, said Mr. Putin.

Twelve months have passed since the Russia-NATO Council acquired an upgraded status in Format Twenty. The Parties' stances still differ on certain international matters, but the Council is, on the whole, justifying expectations. Efforts are being pooled for combat against international terrorism, mass destruction weapon nonproliferation, crisis retaliation and rescue at sea. Council members are working on certain other essential matters, as well. Those matters are really essential, and the latest blasts prove their vital importance, stressed Vladimir Putin.

He thanked Lord Robertson for his opinion of the Znamenskoye blast. Russia is willing to join hands with NATO against terrorism and in other spheres, reassured the President.

Even if we had forgotten about our common cause for an instant, yesterday's tragedies in Chechnya and Riyadh would have brought that cause into the foreground, replied Lord Robertson.

The cruel acts arouse indignation worldwide, and call to build up anti-terror efforts, he emphatically added.

An explosive-loaded Ural lorry blew up in an administrative complex in Znamenskoye, Nadterechny district centre in Chechnya, yesterday morning. The blast reduced eight buildings to debris, and badly damaged the Federal Security Service district office and the district administration premises to kill 54. 86 injured persons are in hospital. 57 of them are at death's door. 23 of the survivors were taken from under the debris, reports Russia's Ministry for Emergency and Calamity relief.

Four blasts shook Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's royal capital, in the small hours today - three in Al Hamra, a neighbourhood of predominant alien residence, and one in the headquarters of a company engaged in US-Saudi military alliance. The blasts killed 29 - seven Americans among them, and injured two hundred, reports Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry.

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