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    Religious extremism could trigger a series of new territorial disputes across the world, the head of Russia's main domestic security service said on Thursday.

    KHANTY-MANSIISK, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Religious extremism could trigger a series of new territorial disputes across the world, the head of Russia's main domestic security service said on Thursday.

    "The terrorist threat is gaining momentum across the world and it is predicted to grow in scale," Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Nikolai Patrushev told a meeting of the heads of security agencies in the West Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiisk.

    "Religious extremism and ethnic separatism are major factors conducive to this growth. They pose a threat to the current international security system and could trigger a series of territorial disputes in regions that have a complex ethnic and religious make-up," Patrushev said, in an apparent reference to ongoing turmoil in Kosovo.

    The Balkan province dominated by Muslim Albanians declared independence from Serbia in mid-February. Russia had long warned that a permanent break with Serbia could set a precedent sparking a series of conflicts globally, as separatist movements seek international backing.

    Several world powers have since recognized Kosovo, while Serbia has condemned the "secession" of its historical heartland. Russia has sided with Serbia, a fellow Orthodox Christian Slavic country, threatening to block 'the newest state's' accession to the UN.

    On the subject of terrorism, Patrushev highlighted the need to step up international cooperation to prevent terrorist attacks and cut extremist organizations from their sources of finance. He also urged the creation of an international information anti-terrorism center.

    Russia earlier announced the creation of an international anti-terrorism database and created its segment as part of its National Anti-Terrorism Committee, which comprises all Russia's law enforcement, intelligence, military agencies, and lawmakers.

    "This is only the beginning of a process to establish a common anti-terrorism information space," Patrushev said.

    However, the FSB chief said that in Russia the terrorist threat has been steadily declining in recent years.

    "The number of terrorist attacks is falling by half every year," he said, adding that 257 terrorist attacks were registered in Russia in 2005, 112 in 2006, and 48 in 2007.

    Patrushev also said the FSB had prevented several terrorist acts in the run-up to the March 2 presidential election, but did not give further details.

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