Britain's Straw: Common Interests Outweigh Differences In Anti-Terror Coalition

Common interests of the members of the international anti-terror coalition are far more important than the remaining differences between them, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Wednesday in an address to Russian politicians. He said the consideration was instrumental in bringing the members of the coalition to embark on an effort to translate the joint interests into a joint strategy. He recalled that US President George W. Bush had during the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum stressed the important role that Russia has played in the war on terror. "I fully subscribe to that evaluation - Russia is a key ally in the international antiterrorist coalition in all aspects of its operations - the military, the humanitarian, and the diplomatic," Straw said in remarks. He went on to point out that Moscow and London had established a close contact following the deadly terrorist attacks of September 11. "There is no doubt about the value of the fact that our leaders know each other well enough to just telephone each other while tackling an international crisis and to start coordinating their actions right away," he argued. The Foreign Secretary said that both Russia and the UK had had a sad experience of terrorism, but the problem had become particularly pressing in the wake of September 11. Now no-one can doubt that the major threat to our security stems from groups that operate outside states or international community rules or in territories where government or the law is nonexistent, he underscored. He went on to say that it was in the interest of all the nations to neutralize the threat that is the al-Qaeda terrorist network, to help the Afghan people build a stable nation, to keep weapons of mass destruction away from irresponsible hands, and to put an end to protracted conflicts that the terrorists have used for their own purposes."

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