Vladimir Putin: Mr Secretary General,
I am pleased to welcome you to the Kremlin. As you have just said, it is indeed a historic moment, for the first time a NATO-Russia Council meeting is taking place in the Russian capital.
We highly appreciate your personal contribution, Mr Secretary General, to the emergence of a new mechanism of cooperation between Russia and NATO. A year has passed, and on the whole the Council is living up to our expectations, despite our different approaches to assessing the global situation.
The fight against international terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, crisis response, rescue at sea and some other issues are in the works. All these are matters of prime importance, as witnessed by recent events. I am referring to the latest terrorist attack in the Chechen Republic and a major terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia. Absolutely the same hand can be seen in both cases, and I must say that the consequences are very similar.
For us, what is happening in Chechnya is an overt attempt by destructive forces not only in Chechnya but also outside of Chechnya, to block the Chechen people’s road to peace.
I would like to thank you for the assessment of the crime perpetrated in Chechnya which you gave yesterday upon arriving in Moscow.
I repeat, we are ready to work with NATO not only to tackle common tasks in the fight against terrorism, but on other issues.