BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST
FORMER RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER
SEPTEMBER 16TH, 2001
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used
Now Russia's attitude to any American retaliation is of course crucial, Sergei Kirienko is their former Prime Minister, now he's President Putin's official envoy and he's here with us now. Of course you'll hear the voice of a translator at this particular point, but first of all we say welcome back.
Thank you, thank you very much.
We've heard tremendously supportive statements from President Putin in this tragic situation, but then we heard in the last day or two there will be, it was said, there will be no attacks on Afghanistan from Russian soil, is that correct?
I wouldn't want to discuss at this point David, possible operational details of the revenge attached. it's obvious now, it is obvious that the terror has to be vanquished and secondly and the most importantly we in this tragic day in the United States, we felt that it was a war, the war was declared and we are on the same side. Remember it's a common enemy and that's probably the most important thing that would change in the world, we're on the same side, the fight against the terrorists cannot be a national problem of any country, any particular country, it's neither the American nor the Russian problem, it's our common problem, common fight and that's it - common responsibility that these things can happen in the world, probably we, together, didn't do enough in this world. What in practical terms we can do together is a totally separate matter which has to be decided by specialists, but we felt how small was the world during the tragedy and this feeling we shouldn't lose.
Certainly the, the idea of Russia and America as allies is a tremendously exciting development but what, what about this business of if, if the Americans were to ask if they could use parts of your land to attack Afghanistan, would you say yes or a regretful no?
I've answered your question and, and probably that's the only answer I can give at this stage. We understand perfectly well how we relate to be necessity to punish the terrorism, it is our task our common goal and in this war we're on the same side. What concrete actions should be taken, it's most important now at this very responsible thing, common responsibility, it's not just to punish the culprits but to have the possibility to pinpoint and rationally prove that people who are punished, are really the culprit. If you wish it's a challenge to the free world to the rational humanity. And secondly we ought to think together and perhaps to act upon it together, what else can be done in order, in, to prevent it happening in the future because many problems which we've been discussing beforehand, the expansion of Nato or ABN treaties, these things are needed but the tragedy in New York shows that all these actions wouldn't have prevented the tragedy in the World Trade Centre. So in addition to the punishment of the culprit we need to think what can we change in the world and that must be done together.
Has Russia been a victim of terrorism, Islamic, were there Islamic Fundamentalists behind some of the revolt in Chechnya do you think?
It seems to me that the answer is yes, even though that for Russia, terror, it's not a tv picture, it's a reality. Exactly two years ago we had same thing happen in Moscow, collapsing buildings but the one thing I would disagree with you, I cannot say that terrorism is a national, has a national face, there is Muslim fundamentalists but there is Christian fundamentalism. We shouldn't convert it into the war of confessions between the Christianity and Islam, that would have been, well biggest mistake.
Thank you very much indeed Mr Kirienko it was very good to see you again, thank you very much indeed.