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    UN SHOULD ACT AS IDEOLOGIST AND COORDINATOR OF EFFORTS IN FIGHT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

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    NORFOLK (USA), April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The United Nations should act as an ideologist and coordinator of the efforts in the fight against international terrorism. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov spoke about it at the closing of the 3rd international conference, the Role of the Military in the Anti-Terrorism Fight, which met under the aegis of the Russia-NATO Council.

    "The transition to unilateral actions in the fight against terrorism can mean the ruining of the anti-terrorist coalition," Sergei Ivanov noted.

    "Any actions of states and international organisations against terrorism, including armed actions, must be based on the norms and principles of the International Law and must be proportionate to the threats, and also must be strictly thought out from the point of view of their consequences.

    "The common understanding of the necessity to unite efforts, enabled us at a certain period to improve the quality of the Russia-NATO relations," the Russian Defence Minister said. According to him, it is only natural that coordination of the actions of the secret services and the armies of various countries is one of the aspects of such counteraction.

    Talking with reporters, who attended the forum, the minister said with regret that the conference participants did not raise the question of how to preserve democratic freedoms in the epoch of fighting against terrorism and to protect the rights of the victims of terrorism and political extremism.

    "I shall express only several thoughts on this score: it is necessary to react adequately, rapidly, jointly and resolutely to the acts of international terrorists, who do not recognise any borders and whose actions contradict all norms of morals and the law," the minister said.

    According to him, the transnational character of terrorism calls for countering it by pooling the efforts of the leading states and, moreover, of all the countries in the world.

    At the same time Sergei Ivanov pointed out that he cannot understand the situation which is arising around Russia's anti-terrorism efforts in Chechnya.

    "The terrorists, who have stained their hands with the blood of Russian citizens, lead a free life, travel from one country to another and enjoy the pleasures of European resorts. Moreover, the West heeds their reasonings with regard to Russia and even organise news conferences for them," Sergei Ivanov said.

    He underscored that despite all anti-terrorist agiotage in Europe "visas are often refused to Russian citizens, while terrorists easily receive Schengen visas." "Thus, Ahmed Zakayev, who is on the wanted list in Russia, hid himself in Denmark, now lives in Great Britain and at the end of January, this year, visited the FRG," the minister said.

    According to him, many people forget that the practice of making advances to terrorists leads to new victims and also insult the memory of those, who were killed by them." "Not only criminals have the rights, the victims of terrorist acts also have them," Sergei Ivanov underscored.

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