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Putin Urges Common European Effort Against Terrorism

Vladimir Putin (file photo) (epa) 2 November 2005 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today called for a common European effort to fight global terrorism.

Putin was speaking at a news conference after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in The Hague.

Putin said that in Chechnya, Russia is protecting both itself and Europe against what he called "terrorists."

"I believe that we are defending our and your interests in the Caucasus, in Chechnya," Putin said. "If we allow terrorists to raise their head in one region, they will raise it in another part of the world. As far as human rights are concerned, this is indeed an issue, but it is an issue everywhere where there is violence. But we are ready for open cooperation."

Putin rejected allegations that Russian forces have been using heavy-handed tactics in Chechnya.

The Russian leader was wrapping up his two-day visit to The Netherlands. Later he visited the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the United Nations' highest judicial body.

The Netherlands is a key economic partner for Moscow and the second-largest source of foreign investment in the Russian economy.

(compiled from agency reports)

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