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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Envoy Pushes for Building a Coalition

A top U.S. envoy pressed Washington's bid for a global anti-terrorism coalition in Moscow over the weekend, amid Russian diplomatic preparations for possible U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Kremlin appeals to Moslem communities across the former Soviet Union.

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton and Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov on Saturday discussed "the critical military-political issues of the formation of the international coalition to fight global terrorism," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Bolton arrived in Moscow from Uzbekistan where he held talks on "diplomatic efforts to counter the threat of terrorism," the U.S. Embassy said.

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday spoke by telephone with Uzbek President Islam Karimov to discuss "bilateral cooperation in combating international terrorism," according to the Kremlin press service.

A day earlier, Putin met with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and top security and law enforcement officials, but no details of the meeting were released.

On Friday, Putin sought to calm the tens of millions of Moslems in Russia and other former Soviet republics by saying terrorism shouldn't be confused with Islam.

"Our countries are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and it's not simply counterproductive but harmful and dangerous to mix terrorism and Islam," Putin said. "Terrorists covering themselves up with Islamic slogans have nothing in common with this world religion."

Every seventh Russian is Moslem, and Putin consulted with Islamic clergy before announcing support for the U.S.-led anti-terrorist effort.

"Terrorists may have different nationalities and profess any religion," Putin said at a meeting with prime ministers of the 12-nation Commonwealth of Independent States. The summit later passed a resolution urging coordinated action against terrorism.

Putin also discussed joint actions against terrorism in telephone conversations with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov met Saturday with a delegation of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"The aim is to intensify contacts between the Russian and U.S. defense and other departments and cooperation if the United States launches military actions in Afghanistan," the Defense Ministry press department told Itar-Tass.

During an official visit to Stockholm on Friday, Ivanov said Russia has a lot to offer in the fight against terrorism, but he "absolutely ruled out" sending troops to Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov held telephone conversations with his British counterpart Jack Straw and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who was due in Moscow on Sunday, to discuss anti-terrorism actions, the Foreign Ministry said in statements Saturday.

The Foreign Ministry praised the UN resolution Friday night requiring all 189 UN-member nations to deny money, support and sanctuary to terrorists. The resolution was sponsored by the United States.

The speaker of the Federation Council, Yegor Stroyev, said the resolution was overdue.

"Russia has long been sounding the alarm. We repeatedly proposed to discuss the question of a joint fight against terrorism. ... But we were not heard," he was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying.