British PM supports Russian efforts to combat terrorism

Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, supports Russia's anti-terrorist efforts in the Chechen Republic, British Premier Tony Blair said Thursday in the House of Commons.

The Chechen issue has been actively discussed in the British parliament prior to the state visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The head of the UK cabinet said it would be fair to say that President Putin's political initiatives have made it possible to find a political solution to the Chechen problem.

Asked by an opposition MP if he intends to raise the issue at the forthcoming talks with the Russian president, Blair said the Chechen problem might be on the agenda of the talks between the two countries' foreign ministers to take place on the sidelines of Putin's visit.

Blair recalled he had always touched upon the Chechen problem at his meetings with President Putin, noting above all the sufferings Russian people incur from the terrorism of Chechen extremists.

On the eve of the parliamentary debates, Britain's European Affairs Secretary Denise MacShane recalled the hostage taking of three engineers from Great Britain and New Zealand in 1998 by Chechen extremists, adding kidnappings and murders were continuing with regularity.

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