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Russia: Putin Calls For Legal 'Tools' To Counter Terrorism

Shanghai, 19 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech at a summit in Shanghai, China, that the world's governments must create legal instruments that enable a response to terrorism. Putin told leaders at the 21-member Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit there is an urgent need to strengthen legislation worldwide: "Today, we are facing threats that are grave and global, which need a prompt and adequate response. Unfortunately, today's set of legal instruments does not offer us the tools to react to these threats adequately and promptly. And we do need such a tool."

Putin said there was no reason for a country to fear globalization. He said more attention needs to be paid to poorer nations as "poverty is the foundation of terrorism and corruption."

Putin also today took the opportunity to reiterate Russia's support for the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan: "Whether or not we support the United States, I suppose I don't have to repeat this.... We have declared our direct support for the United States. If you want to know if we our position has changed, I can say 'no, it has not.'"

In other news at the summit, some APEC members at a summit meeting today pressed the U.S. to involve the United Nations in its campaign against terrorism.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin used his first-ever meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush to repeat an earlier call for greater UN participation.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said his country's president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a meeting today at the summit that the UN should be active in the crisis, with special attention to humanitarian efforts. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country.

Bush told a press conference today after meeting with Ziang that the Chinese leader agreed to share intelligence and cooperate in blocking funds to terrorist groups.

"There is a firm commitment by this [Chinese] government to cooperate in intelligence matters [and] to help interdict the financing of terrorist organizations.... President Jiang and his government will stand side by side with the American people as we fight this evil force."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said today he has seen a final version of a declaration of antiterrorism solidarity that APEC members expect to issue at the summit's close on 21 October. He said he is delighted by what he calls the document's "resounding" support for the U.S.-led campaign.

Meanwhile, India and Russia today said there can be no place for the Taliban in any future government in Afghanstan.

The two countries said in a joint statement issued in New Delhi after two days of meetings between Indian officials and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov that "a moderate Taliban is a contradiction in terms."

The statement said that the Taliban movement is based on "malevolent, extremist, and violent ideologies" that would endanger the stability of any future Afghan government.

Russia, India, and Iran are key backers of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.