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#3 - JRL 7234
Russian general says "war on terror" used as pretext for global dominance

MOSCOW (AFP) Jun 21, 2003 A top Russian military commander Saturday took an indirect swipe at the United States by accusing global powers of using the war on terror as a pretext for spreading their influence abroad. Chief of Staff General Anatoly Kvashnin's comments appeared to be directed at US troops stationed in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia as part of their Afghan campaign.

"It is one thing when a country is fighting terrorism on its own territory, and some other countries assist them," the Interfax-AVN military news agency quoted Kvashnin an officers' graduation ceremony in Moscow.

"But it is quite another thing when, under the guise of fighting international terror, some countries are in fact trying to get involved in the internal affairs of the nation they are meant to be helping," said Kvashnin.

He urged the graduating officers to keep this in mind as they "carefully analyze what is happening in the world."

The Russian chief of staff general is seen as one of the more hawkish commanders within the Russian military hierarchy.

He opposed Moscow's decision to allow the United States and European powers to use former Soviet bases in Central Asia following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Washington stresses it has no plans to permanently station US troops in the region.

However some in Russia suspect that the United States is trying to stretch its influence in a broader fight for control of Central Asia's oil and natural gas reserves, as well the region's pipeline network.

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