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    G8 COUNTRIES NEED RUSSIA'S ANTI-TERRORIST EXPERIENCE, HIGH-PLACED DIPLOMAT SAYS

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    WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 20 (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ARKADY ORLOV) - Russia is making a substantial contribution to the G8's efforts to fight international terrorism.

    This was disclosed to correspondents in Washington February 19 by Russia's ambassador at large Vadim Lukov, who attended a conference of G8 representatives preparing for the next G8 summit at Georgia's Sea Island ocean resort in June 2004.

    Our G8 partners believe the Russian side is becoming a more influential partner in the context of anti-terrorist operations, Lukov stressed.

    G8 countries need our anti-terrorist experience, which was gained as a result of long suffering, and which was also tested during battles with the most cunning and experienced enemy, the high-placed Russian diplomat went on to say.

    According to Lukov, Russia is now involved rather actively in this highly important sphere; among other things, Moscow is taking part in the work of the G8's counter-terrorist group, whose members coordinate aid to other countries, helping expand their counter-terrorist potential.

    Such activity includes technical assistance, as well as personnel-training programs, the diplomat informed those present, adding that Russia boasted strong positions for rendering such assistance to CIS countries, as well as a number of Third World nations.

    Russia is doing its best to streamline international information exchanges in the course of joint G8 anti-terrorist efforts; such information can prevent terrorist acts, Lukin told his audience.

    Border-control agencies exercised in the fall of 2002; this example highlights successful cooperation between G8 secret services, the diplomat stressed. The aforesaid exercise aimed to expose persons crossing G8 borders with the help of fake passports, what with the Russian frontier service performing to the best of its capacity, Lukov added.

    Moreover, Russia continues to abide by various accords of the G8's Evian summit; such accords stipulate additional efforts to prevent terrorists from obtaining MANPADS (Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems). Russia started registering serial numbers of all available MANPADS last year; MANPADS production, storage and exports are also being watched more closely than before, the diplomat added.

    The concerned parties elaborated all the main MANPADS export-control elements this past December within the framework of the Vassenaar accords; the December 2003 conference was presided over by Russia. These documents aim to toughen control over MANPADS deliveries, Lukov noted in conclusion.

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