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Antiterrorism and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction will be central at the Bratislava meeting
Antiterrorism and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, will be central at the Bratislava meeting between Vladimir Putin and George Bush on February 24. "The scale of the modern terrorist threat has prompted us to intensify our efforts against international terrorism," Sergei Prikhodko, the Russian president's aide, told reporters. The Kremlin is positive that mutual support in the fight against terrorism and other new challenges, and joint crisis settlement efforts meet the national interests of Russia and the United States'. "The state and prospects for bilateral cooperation in disarmament and the nonproliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction make another important set of issues that will be discussed in Bratislava," said Mr. Prikhodko. In this context the leaders will discuss the situation surrounding North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan. Russia is prepared to set out its stance on military-technological cooperation with third countries, if the U.S. raises this issue in Bratislava, according to a Kremlin source. Russia has violated none of relevant international sanctions and restrictions. "We have strictly fulfilled all our obligations and will continue doing so," assured a Kremlin official. Moreover, Russia is working to improve its legal base to ensure the nonproliferation regime, emphasized the source. "No substantiated claims have been put forward against Russia in recent years over the violation of the UN sanctions or restrictions, or relevant international regimes," said the source. This is the result of the government and other involved bodies' routine work to ensure control over relevant organizations' activities, according to the source. "Russia is more interested in ensuring the regime than many of those who qualify themselves as zealous advocates of the idea," said the source. He emphasized that Moscow took a similar approach to the possibility of WMD being acquired by terrorists and recalled that Russia had proposed signing an agreement on tougher control over shoulder-fired air-defense weapons at the Bratislava summit. "The rest is a matter political preferences or political assessments," believes the source. He said Russia, for its part, intended to discuss the sales of relevant technology and documents to Talibs by Pakistan. In addition, Moscow disagrees with the allegations that the Syrian authorities intend to sell weapons to terrorists. "Accusing the Syrian government of plans to sell missiles to terrorists? We cannot agree to this presentation of the problem," said the Kremlin source.
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