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Top NATO Commander, Russian Officials Vow Cooperation

8 September 2004 -- NATO's top military commander in Europe met with Russian officials in Moscow today, as both sides vowed to increase cooperation against the threat of terrorism.

U.S. General James Jones said Russia and NATO now face "common threats and common challenges" that herald a new era of "heightened cooperation."

Colonel General Yurii Baluyevskii, chief of Russia's General Staff, said only joint action "can stop this plague of the 21st century."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also reaffirmed Moscow's commitment to cooperation, saying NATO should resolve to take "concrete" action on counterterrorism issues.

Jones expressed his condolences to Moscow for the Beslan school hostage-taking last week that ended in the deaths of some 330 people.

He said NATO stood ready to extend its help to Moscow in the wake of the tragedy.