Mr Annan expressed heartfelt solidarity with the Russian nation, which had come through a difficult ordeal. He said he felt great relief now that the hostages were rescued. Mr Putin highly appreciated the international support Russia received during the atrocious terrorist attack in Moscow. He noted the UN Security Council responded quickly and adopted a resolution explicitly denouncing the attack.
As Mr Putin stressed, the Moscow tragedy had come as yet another warning sign to the world and proved that the terrorists active in Chechnya were a striking force of the “Terrorist International”. Aslan Maskhadov and other insurgent chiefs placed themselves above the law, he said.
Mr Putin and Mr Annan emphasised the importance of active coordination of the efforts of all countries in the uncompromising fight against terrorism. The President especially stressed the essential role of the United Nations, whose unique experience and tremendous potential enabled it to form a global counter-terrorist system under its aegis. The United Nations could and must lead principled action in the fight against international terrorism as a universal evil—a fight that would know no exceptions, limitations nor double standards.
Mr Putin and Mr Annan also discussed the situation surrounding Iraq on Mr Annan’s initiative. They spoke about continuing consultations in the format of the UN Security Council to arrive at a generally acceptable compromise on this sensitive issue so as to guarantee the effective work of the international inspectors in Iraq.