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#30 - JRL 2009-25 - JRL Home
Moscow denies hampering US military cargo transit to Afghanistan

Moscow, 4 February: Russia is ready to offer the United States the right to transit to Afghanistan through its territory for the needs of the antiterrorist coalition, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin has said.

"A few days ago, we gave the USA a positive answer to their query about transit," he told journalists on Wednesday (4 February). Karasin added that bilateral consultations on the issue should be held shortly.

He specified that Russia had agreed to the transit of non-military cargoes and personnel. "We'll show a flexible approach on other aspects too," the Russian diplomat stressed.

He also denied suggestions that Russia was hindering the transit of US military cargoes to Afghanistan because of Washington's position on ABM. "I think it is a cynical idea. We live in a much more complex world," Karasin said during a telephone conference for journalists on Wednesday. The conference was held in English.

Karasin stressed that the present-day world was "too interconnected, and so many countries have different views". "Afghanistan is a separate issue, and ABM is another issue," the deputy minister stressed. "We should not reduce discussions on this to links between one and the other," he said.

(In another report, Interfax quoted Karasin as saying that, in his view, the impending closure of the US air base in Kyrgyzstan would "not prevent us all from cooperating for the success of the antiterrorist coalition" in Afghanistan. "The USA, Europe, Russia, the Central Asian countries, China - we are all interested in it," he added. According to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, Karasin said: "We are all interested in a very efficient antiterrorist campaign there, to prevent the transportation of drugs to Europe and on to the USA".

Yet another Interfax report quoted Karasin as saying that he was "optimistic" about Russian-US cooperation in Central Asia, which could help economic and social development of the region's states. "For this, we need real team work. We are ready for it. In particular, we are trying to build transparent cooperation with the EU. And I think we have every chance to develop cooperation in this very important sphere with the United States," Karasin said.)