Russian Foreign Minister urges not to associate terrorism with ethnic groups and religions

Moscow points to the danger and counter-production of the approach towards terrorism that boils down to attempts to associate it with ethnic groups and religions, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in his interview with RIA Novosti on the eve of President Putin's official visit to India on December 3rd-5th.

Ivanov said that Russia and India had never viewed international terrorism as an abstract thing. "Long before the September 11th, 2001, attacks the two countries sought to draw people's attention to the problem, pointing to the international nature of terrorist organisations," Ivanov recalled.

It is a popular belief today that international terrorists were trained in the same camps, and are employing similar tactics and methods of committing crimes, Ivanov pointed out. The Minister cited the explosions in the residential houses in Moscow, Volgodonsk, near the legislative assembly in the states of Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar, the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 as well as the recent terrorist attacks on a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Gudjrat and the Theatre Centre in Moscow.

Igor Ivanov recalled that the main principles of Russia-India collaboration are laid down in the Moscow declaration on international terrorism adopted on November 6th, 2001. "We advocate the adoption of harsh measures according to principles and norms of international law against terrorists and those countries, that support, harbour, finance, provoke, train or assist terrorists some other way," Igor Ivanov noted. "At the same time we are greatly concerned with the intention of some countries to use slogans of the fight against terrorism to solve domestic and foreign political issues," the Foreign Minister said.

Moreover, Russia and India greatly contributed to the elimination of the hot bed of instability in Afghanistan. An important role in the dialogue of the two countries on the Afghan issue was given to the Russia-Indian working group on Afghanistan set up in 2000. "We share the views on the post-conflict settlement of this country," Ivanov said.

While commenting on the future Afghan settlement, the Russian Foreign Minister said that "the priority now is to recover the economy and ensure safety." In his words, a great concern is caused by the information on drug production across Afghanistan. "It is a common knowledge that revenues from illegal drug trade are a main injection of both the internal conflict in Afghanistan and international terrorist organisations," the minister stressed.

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