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    RUSSIA SEES NO PROGRESS IN ANTI-TERRORISM FIGHT IN AFGHANISTAN, SAYS RUSSIAN MINISTER

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    NORFOLK, USA, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia does not see any real progress in neutralizing the terrorist threat from Afghanistan, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said in a conversation with journalists, who attended the 3rd international conference "Role of the Military in Anti-Terrorism Fight".

    "Russia supports anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. At the same time, despite the massive military presence, the situation in the country remains difficult. We do not see a real progress in neutralizing the terrorist threat from Afghanistan," the minister said.

    According to him, terrorist attacks in Afghanistan take lives of soldiers and civilians. Attacks on representatives of international humanitarian organizations still continue, he recalled. "Now and then there are outbreaks of violence between different ethnic and religious groups," he added. Even the system of Afghan authorities lacks unity, Mr. Ivanov pointed out.

    "The prospect of holding national elections in Afghanistan scheduled for autumn 2004 remains obscure," he stated.

    In his opinion, the reason is simple, "the success of NATO troops in defeating the Taliban regime has not been accompanied by building of a civil society, restoration of the country's economy and integration of the Afghan society in international processes".

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