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Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 21:28 GMT 22:28 UK
Russia is 'safe partner' for West
Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin
Blair and Putin: Standing together
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the West has found a safe partner in Russia in the battle against world terrorism.

Speaking after talks in Moscow with the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Mr Putin said that Russia fully backed the international coalition being built following the attacks in the United States.


I believe we can co-operate closely with Western countries

Vladimir Putin
For his part, Mr Blair said the fact that Russia was standing alongside other countries of the world giving its support against acts of terror was living proof of a changed world.

He praised "the strength of leadership of President Putin at this time".

In other developments:

  • Pakistan says the evidence gathered against Bin Laden in relation to the 11 September attacks is "enough for an indictment"
  • US President George W Bush promises an extra $320m in aid to help Afghanistan's impoverished people
  • Nato's Secretary-General, George Robertson, says the alliance has agreed to requests from the US for intelligence, logistical and military support in the fight against terrorism
  • The European Parliament approves legislation to freeze the assets of 27 groups and individuals linked to terrorism
  • Doctors from around the world meet in French town of Ferney-Voltaire to discuss the threat of bio-terrorism
  • US authorities ask the Qatar Government to influence Al-Jazeera television, saying it has been broadcasting views hostile to the US
  • The Taleban say they will put arrested UK journalist Yvonne Ridley on trial for entering Afghanistan illegally

Pakistan trip

Mr Blair is expected to continue to Pakistan on Friday, although his office has yet to confirm this.

Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf is seen as a key player in the coalition.

Tony Blair speaks to the Commons on Thursday
Tony Blair has offered unconditional support to the US
Despite opposition from radical Islamic groups in his country, he has offered logistical and intelligence support to the US as it prepares to take military action against Afghanistan, whose ruling Taleban regime is sheltering Bin Laden.

The visit to Moscow follows Mr Blair's insistence that evidence from intelligence and other sources left "no doubt" that Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network were responsible for last month's terror attacks on the United States.

Mr Putin has allowed the US military to use bases in Uzbekistan and other former Soviet states in central Asia as it prepares for military action against Afghanistan.

Warning of fresh attacks

Before leaving for Moscow, Mr Blair told an emergency meeting of Parliament that he would make available as much evidence against Bin Laden as he could without compromising security efforts.

Describing the evidence as "overwhelming", Mr Blair said the 11 September attacks bore all the hallmarks of a Bin Laden operation, including meticulous long-term planning and a desire to inflict mass casualties.

The UK Government has released a 21-page document - based on intelligence reports and investigations - warning that Bin Laden has the "will and resources" to carry out further atrocities on the scale of the 11 September terror attacks.

It says there is "very specific" evidence against Bin Laden and his associates which is "too sensitive to release".

Before 11 September, Bin Laden himself said he was preparing a major attack on America and he warned his aides to return to Afghanistan by 10 September, the document adds.

Of the 19 terrorists identified from passenger lists on the hijacked flights used in the atrocities, three were "known associates" of Bin Laden and one had played a key role in some of his earlier attacks on US targets.

Mr Blair said Bin Laden was able to operate with impunity because of his alliance with the Taleban regime.

He concluded: "We act for justice, we act with world opinion behind us and we are absolutely determined to see justice done and this evil of mass international destruction defeated."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
addresses the emergency meeting of the House of Commons
The BBC's Paul Adams
evaluates the evidence Blair has presented on Bin Laden's guilt
Michael Emerson, Centre for European Policy Studies
explains what Blair might be hoping to achieve by his visit to Moscow
See also:

04 Oct 01 | Europe
Analysis: Moscow's mood shift
04 Oct 01 | Europe
Strengthening the coalition
04 Oct 01 | Europe
Nato adds weight to words
04 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair puts case against Bin Laden
04 Oct 01 | UK Politics
The UK's Bin Laden dossier in full
03 Oct 01 | Europe
Analysis: Putin looks West
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