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    Russia condemns U.S. TV station's broadcast of Basayev interview

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    MOSCOW/WASHINGTON, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed its strong objection to U.S. television network ABC's broadcast of an interview with accused Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev. "This allows terrorists to attain their main goal - to use the media to frighten the international community," said a ministry officer. He pointed out that the interview was broadcast after the terrorist attacks in London and Egypt.

    "It is shocking that the ABC News channel decided to ignore the Russian Embassy's objection to the interview with a well-known international terrorist," the Russian Embassy in the U.S. said in a statement.

    The embassy sent their objection to ABC and to the management of the program "Nightline" a few hours before the interview, after it had been announced, but the interview, held in Chechnya by Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky at the end of June, was still broadcast.

    ABC press statement said Babitsky traveled to Chechnya to interview the vice-commander of the Chechen separatist movement Doku Umarov, and after traveling an unknown route and waiting for two days, Babitsky was taken to a car in which Basayev was sitting. The journalist spent two days with Basayev.

    "The Nightline program invited the Russian government to take part in the program. The offer was rejected," ABC said in a statement.

    The TV channel admitted that the program "will be one of the most controversial in Nightline's 25-year history."

    The embassy's statement said ABC "has given a platform to a supporter of al Qaida, guilty of the murder of innocent people through many major terrorist attacks masterminded and carried out by him [Basayev], including the cold-blooded killing of hundreds of children a year ago in Beslan.

    "Russia and the United States long ago agreed that terrorism is unjustifiable. This position was confirmed at the G8 summit in Gleneagles," the embassy said. "There is no doubt that the broadcast of the interview with Shamil Basayev by ABC News goes against the spirit of Russian-U.S. partnership in our joint war against the global threat of terrorism."

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