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    PUTIN GREETS MAYORAL CONFERENCE

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    MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - A 3rd International Conference of the Mayors of the Cities of the World: Cities' Diplomacy, had its official opening in Moscow today. President Vladimir Putin forwarded a greeting message to the conferees and guests. It says, in part:

    "Your forum is a major international event. By arriving in the Russian capital at a time dramatic for this country, you are displaying solidarity with the Russian nation who has come through a chain of heinous terror acts.

    "You have come together today to settle the problems of the world's largest cities. Megalopolitan security is one of those essential problems. I am sure you will come at proper initiatives, and find due solutions."

    The Russian top will comply with international rights standards and the national Constitution in its anti-terror combat, reassured Boris Gryzlov, State Duma Speaker, as he was addressing the maiden session.

    "Terrorism is one of the principal threats to man's and citizen's rights and freedoms. It cannot be vanquished unless those rights and freedoms are respected and closely complied with. Russia's ruling bodies will proceed in their action from universally recognised international standards on human rights, and from the Constitution of the Russian Federation," said the parliamentary leader.

    Terrorism has no ethnicity or nationality, and does not reckon with frontiers. "No town in the world is safe from that danger. Terrorists make their outrages within urban limits. That places security in the foreground of this conference," he went on.

    The terrorist challenge demands an all-round rebuff. An ever closer alliance of all people of goodwill is essential in the cause. "In this context, solidarity is an encouraging token-and you have displayed solidarity by coming to Moscow," Gryzlov said to the gathering.

    As he sees it, contemporary cities are to retain their identity through efforts toward cultural, ethnic and religious tolerance. These matters are part and parcel of today's urban problems. "They are alike all over the world-to improve quality of life, fight poverty, and combat crime," stressed the MP.

    Alexander Zhukov, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister, also addressed the conferees.

    "The Russian government will closely monitor your debates and resolutions, and will proceed from them in its routine," he said.

    The Vice-Premier called municipal officers to do their bit for the anti-terror cause.

    "Terrorists choose cities for their targets ever more often. That concerns not only megalopolises-small towns are not immune to the danger, either. We saw that two weeks ago as several hundred kids and adults perished in tiny Beslan."

    It takes not only national governments but town councils to blueprint anti-terror tactics, added Mr. Zhukov.

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