Counterterrorism was the focal point in the two leaders’ talks. Mr Putin said that Russia viewed the meeting as a follow-up to the contacts with the United States, the EU, and Central Asian countries – those states that have chosen to counter global terrorism.
Russia fully supported the basic provisions expressed by the British leader in Parliament, Mr Putin said.
Speaking at today’s extraordinary session of the British Parliament, Mr Blair said that the international coalition was approaching a difficult moment when a military operation against the terrorists would become necessary. He underlined that a warlike move would be undertaken not only against Osama bin Laden as the key suspect in terrorist attacks in the United States, but also against the Afghan Taliban movement hiding the world’s number one terrorist.
The Russian leader noted that Mr Blair was very quick to accept the invitation to come to Moscow, and the prompt discussion of the most acute issues only emphasised the relations between Russia and the United Kingdom, Mr Putin stressed.
The British leader in his turn noted Mr Putin’s efforts to rally the world in the face of the terrorist threat.
A unified approach elaborated after the tragic events in the United States proved that the world was coming together, Mr Blair said, noting that the same was true of the Russian-European and Russian-British relations.
Mr Blair also extended his condolences in connection with the Tu-154 air disaster.
At the joint news conference that followed the meeting, Mr Putin stated that the high profile of the Russian-British relations facilitated the resolution of the most acute problems, including global counter-terrorist action.
The Russian leader also answered some of the reporters’ questions on the Tu-154 air crash.
Following the meeting at the Kremlin and the joint news conference, the two leaders set off to Mr Putin’s residence where they will continue their discussion over dinner.