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Following is the text of a joint statement of the US-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan, following their meeting of February 8, 2002:
Begin Joint Statement:
The United States-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan held its sixth session on February 8, 2002 in Washington. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and first Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov co-chaired the working group session. The head of the Russian delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Trubnikov, was also received by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The co-chairs exchanged a detailed assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan. They confirmed again the commitment of the United States and Russia to work closely together in the war against terrorism, and they emphasized the need to bring to a logical conclusion efforts to eliminate the terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan related to Osama Bin Laden and his Al- Qaida organization. They also affirmed the need to support the successful implementation of the Bonn agreement, the interim authority in Afghanistan and the transitional authority which will succeed it. Both sides agreed to work closely with the UN in this regard.
The delegations agreed that U.S.-Russian military cooperation as part of operation enduring freedom has been invaluable and unprecedented, and has directly contributed to the successes realized in the global war on terrorism. In particular, both sides underscored the value of their extensive exchange of counterterrorism information and their enhanced ability to collect and exploit threat information.
The U.S. and Russian delegations discussed ways to ensure long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan. They pledged to exchange information and to coordinate on current and planned assistance programs, including specific projects aimed at rebuilding Afghanistan's economy. They agreed that long-term peace, stability, and prosperity is also critical for Central Asia as a whole and on the importance of seeking a regional approach to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The American side emphasized that the U.S. does not seek to establish permanent military bases in Central Asia.
Even as Afghanistan moves towards reconstruction and long-term development, the United States and Russia agreed they will continue to respond to the humanitarian needs of vulnerable afghans and to promote the safe return and sustainable reintegration of afghan refugees and displaced persons.
The working group commented on productive U.S.-Russian collaboration on counternarcotics, and agreed they should continue to lead regional initiatives such as the six plus two working group on drugs, to encourage an integrated approach among member countries and to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities. The working group agreed that the interim authority in Afghanistan needs assistance to enforce a ban on poppy and international cooperation on eradication, and that alternative development programs should be a top priority.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to full implementation of multilateral sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council against perpetrators and supporters of terrorist acts. Since the last meeting of the working group in November 2001, the UN Security Council passed UNSCR 1390, which updated and broadened UN measures against the Taliban and Al-Qaida. The U.S. and Russia call upon all other nations to implement fully the provisions of UNSCR 1390, and also call for full implementation of UNSCR 1373. The sweeping powers of 1373 provide the international community with valuable tools to take effective action in the war on terrorism.
The two delegations also reviewed a range of other issues related to countering the threat of international terrorism, including a discussion of increased terrorist threats in such areas as the Balkans. They agreed to support expansion of antiterrorist cooperation within the framework of the United Nations, OSCE, NATO and other international structures, as well as bilaterally.
Having noted the significance the leaders of both states attach to the work of the group, the delegations agreed that the next meeting of the U.S.-Russia Working Group will take plac in Moscow at the end of April.
End Joint Statement
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