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24 July 2003

U.S.-Russia Counterterrorism Working Group July 22-23

Joint statement on session in Williamsburg, Virginia

The U.S.-Russia Working Group on Counterterrorism held its tenth session July 22-23 in Williamsburg, Virginia, co-chaired by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov.

The delegations discussed key counterterrorism issues, including blocking terrorist financing, threats to security resulting from the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, and concrete measures to counteract the potential use of biological, nuclear or radiological material for terrorist purposes. They also examined developments in Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans.

A joint statement said the two sides "reaffirmed their strong determination to intensify the fight against terrorism in accordance with the UN Charter and international law."

The delegations also agreed to meet again in January 2004 in Russia.

Following is the joint statement:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
July 24, 2003

Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE U.S.-RUSSIA WORKING GROUP ON COUNTERTERRORISM

Following is the text of a joint statement of the United States and Russia released at the conclusion of the U.S.-Russia Working Group on Counterterrorism, held in Williamsburg, Virginia on July 22-23, 2003.

Begin Text:

The U.S.-Russia Working Group on Counterterrorism held its tenth session on July 22-23, 2003, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov co-chaired the Working Group session.

The delegations discussed key global issues in the fight against terrorism, and developments in Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans, and in other regions. Particular attention was devoted to the areas of counterterrorism, counternarcotics, cooperation, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The delegations exchanged intelligence and military briefings on the Global Counterterrorism effort.

The delegations reaffirmed their strong determination to intensify the fight against terrorism in accordance with the UN Charter and international law, including through cooperation of all UN members with the Security Council Counterterrorism Committee (CTC), and enhance coordination between CTC and international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

The delegations expressed their firm intention to continue and strengthen cooperation to suppress financing of international terrorism. Both sides discussed their domestic approaches to combat terrorist financing. The delegations discussed ongoing cooperation to impose UN sanctions through the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee on individuals and entities associated with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Both sides agreed to maintain this cooperation and to explore ways to strengthen the Committee's work inter alia, through improved cooperation and increased exchange of information between the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee and CTC.

The delegations also continued a constructive dialogue regarding Afghanistan. The United States and Russia fully support the government of Afghan President Karzai, and the implementation of the Bonn process through the upcoming Constitutional Loya Jirga in October, and the elections scheduled for June 2004. Both sides look forward to working further together on the equipping of the Afghan National Army.

The delegations agreed that the two countries should play strong roles in counternarcotics activities that will reduce and eventually eliminate illicit drug production in Afghanistan and the trafficking of illicit drugs through Central Asia to major markets. Stopping the drug flow is crucial to security in the region as well as within Afghanistan itself. Both sides will continue to support Afghanistan's efforts to combat drug production and trafficking, working with our UK and German partners and the countries of Central Asia, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as well as with other relevant international and regional structures. The delegations stressed their readiness to contribute to UN efforts to eliminate the illicit cultivation of opium poppy and illicit drug trafficking of narcotics from the Afghan territory.

The Caucasus and Central Asia subgroup conducted a full range of consultations and agreed to work on concrete proposals to promote development through economic cooperation, and integration both regionally and internationally. The delegations also underscored their commitment to work toward resolution of the Abkhazia conflict.

The WMD subgroup focused on concrete measures to counteract possible use of biological, nuclear and radiological material for terrorist purposes, including through scientific, research, and health cooperation. On bioterrorism, the subgroup agreed to explore a range of cooperative programs in the areas of prevention, immediate response and consequence management. It also agreed to explore collaboration to strengthen overall public health systems to combat bioterrorism.

The WMD subgroup also agreed to pursue a collaborative review of nuclear material from smuggling cases. We believe this effort will improve the ability of our governments to cooperate to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear material and its use by terrorists.

The two sides agreed to meet again in January 2004 in Russia.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)