USA praises Russia's anti-terrorist actions, acknowledges the danger of Chechnya

The US Department of State named chief sponsors of terrorism: the list includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria

The US administration highly estimates Russia's role in the anti-terrorist struggle and criticizes Georgia for the fact that terrorists continue using its territory to penetrate into other states. These issues were contained in the annual report from the US Department of State: the report was devoted to struggle against terrorism in foreign states in 2004.

The American administration acknowledged in the report that Russia had made several considerable initiatives in the struggle against terrorism in 2004. The report particularly runs that Russia's role in the global war on terror has increased. The high level of cooperation between US and Russian special services has become the biggest accomplishment of the Russian government at this point, the report says. Russian inner political reforms, including the cancellation of the public gubernatorial elections, raise concerns with the US administration, because such reforms may supposedly result in the reduction of anti-terrorist efforts.

According to the US Department of State, separatists and terrorists in the Northern Caucasus carry responsibility for the killing of hundreds of Russian citizens. US special services, the report runs, have evidence to prove activities of international terrorists in Chechnya, as well as the funding of Chechen terrorist groups from abroad. It is noteworthy that the US administration emphasized subversive activities of the Chechen separatist movement.

The anti-Georgian criticism became quite a surprising part of the report, taking into consideration the fact that the republic of Georgia has been persistently running for the status of the USA's major ally in the Caucasus. Authors of the report wrote that terrorists were still using the territory of Georgia for their own transit, albeit in a smaller capacity. American officials believe that such an activity lessened owing to the efforts of the Georgian administration in the Pankisi Gorge after the tragic terrorist act in Russia's Beslan in September of 2004.

The USA realizes that Georgian law-enforcement agencies are restricted in their possibilities on account of the lack of finance, equipment and training. The USA, therefore, renders technical and financial assistance to Georgia in this respect. In addition, attempts to reform local law-enforcement structures result in messy situations, which do not allow to elaborate the universal counter-terrorist policy in the republic.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, the person, who initiated law-enforcement reforms in the republic, commented the conclusions of the US Department of State. “What terrorists in Georgia are they talking about if US President Bush is coming to Georgia, as well as other presidents and thousands of tourists? Georgia has become a normal country,” Mr. Saakashvili said. The president stressed out that the American report pointed out the improving situation on the level of security in Georgia.

The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry has not released any comments on the US report, not even on the part about Georgia. Moscow believes that American officials have said everything that needed to be said.

The last part of the report from the US Department of State names chief sponsors of terrorism. According to the American administration, the list includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. Two other states, which were also categorized as terrorist sponsors, received Washington's appraisal for making considerable steps towards cooperation.

On the whole, the US Department of State acknowledged that terrorism still remained a global threat that leaves all countries defenseless. American specialists calculated that 651 acts of international terrorism happened in 2004; 1,907 people were killed in those acts. These numbers are quite subjective: according to the American strategy, the explosion of one of the two Russian jetliners in August 2004 should be classified as “international terrorism” because one of the killed passengers was an Israeli citizen. The explosion one the other plane does not fit the category: there were only Russian passengers aboard the liner. Washington specialists believe that the hostage crisis in Beslan is an act of international terrorism, because there was one Uzbek and one Kazakh terrorists among the hostage-takers.

Andrei Zlobin

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Author`s name Olga Savka