Pakistan ready to fight international terrorism in conjunction with Russia

The Pakistani authorities are ready to co-operate with Russia in the struggle against international terrorism. Anatoly Safonov, a Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, made this statement following three-day consultations in Islamabad. The agenda of the meeting included such issues as the struggle against international terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking.

According to Safonov, Pakistan is ready to co-operate with Russia in these areas in any required form and framework.

Anatoly Safonov stated that such a co-operation was possible due to the decision of Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf to join the international anti-terrorist coalition after the September 11th tragedy.

"The most important thing now is to give a practical implementation to the sides' determination," the Russian diplomat said. According to him, this refers to the establishment of a joint anti-terrorist group similar to Russo-Chinese and Russo-Indian ones, which are already operating.

Anatoly Safonov headed a delegation, which included 12 officials. That was a routine visit whose agenda included meetings with the Pakistani Interior and Foreign Ministers and with other Pakistani high-ranking officials to discuss the present-day extremely tense situation in Indo-Pakistani relations. At the consultations, the diplomats touched on the situation in the region, including that in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Participants in the event also stressed the importance of further development of trade and economic co-operation between the two countries.

All details of the meeting remain as yet unclear. At the same time, according to informed sources, the Pakistani side is delaying the drafting and signing of a number of bilateral agreements on the struggle against crime, including that concerning extradition of criminals.

Russia is highly concerned over the fact that drug dealers trafficking narcotics produced in Afghanistan via Pakistani territory for subsequent selling abroad fund Chechen rebels.

Another Russian concern is the so-called "donations," which Pakistani religious organisations collect and subsequently send to Chechnya.

Russia is also worried about the infiltration of "temporarily unemployed" Afghan terrorists to the Caucasus to train rebels.

The Pakistani side has reportedly promised to do everything it takes to eliminate such threats.

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