RUSSIA-ITALY: MPs DEBATE ANTI-TERROR CAUSE, DRUG COMBAT

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MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti) - A greater Russo-Italian interparliamentary commission gathered for its 4th session in Moscow today. Efforts against international terrorism and drug traffic dominated the agenda. Lower house heads were co-chairing-Speaker Boris Gryzlov of the State Duma for Russia, and Pier Ferdinando Casini, President of the Chamber of Deputies, for Italy.

Russia recently passed a law to prolong detention terms for terror suspects, and the Duma is debating a bill to toughen punishments for terrorism and related crimes, announced Mr. Gryzlov.

Both countries' MPs expressed concern with drug smuggling from Afghanistan skyrocketing. "It is no secret that drug money all too often goes into terrorist hands," pointed out Signor Casini.

The conferees also appraised prospects of Russian relations with the European Union after its enlargement, the future of Russo-Italian economic contacts, and protection of children.

They spoke up for a comprehensive approach to Iraqi and overall Mideastern developments, Pier Ferdinando Casini said to the media after the session. He described relations between the two countries' governments as "superb". "Contacts between our two countries' parliaments are also long-established, and have excellent traditions of friendship and teamwork," he added.

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