The leaders of Russia and China have called for going over as soon as possible from the military operation to a political settlement in Afghanistan under the aegis of the United Nations. This was said by Russian presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov who summed up the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Chairman of the PRC Jiang Zemin which took place in Shanghai on October 20. The leaders of Russia and China opined that "representatives of all basic ethnic groups, who will show readiness to cooperate in the restoration of a peaceful life, should come to power in Kabul." Vladimir Putin and Jiang Zemin devoted a considerable part of their conversation to the fight against terrorism. They believe the international community should actively and solidarily combat this evil, said Alexei Gromov. The leaders of Russia and China also discussed strategic stability issues and said they would coordinate their actions. Vladimir Putin and Jiang Zemin highly rated "the rising level of trust in bilateral relations as a whole and also between the leaders of the two countries." They pointed out the existence of "a real strategic partnership on a firm basis" between Russia and China. The leaders of the two countries noted that in the past year or a year and a half a break-through had taken place in bilateral economic relations. According to Alexei Gromov, at their meeting Vladimir Putin and Jiang Zemin spoke about the programmes in the power industry, transport and other spheres currently being worked out between Russia and China.
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