One week after the grizzly killing of hundreds of school children in the Russian republic of North Ossetia, Moscow and Berlin say they will work more closely together to stop terrorism.
Moscow and Berlin hope cooperation will avoid another tragedy
In response to a month that has seen a wave of terrorism -- from the school massacre in Beslan to the downing of two jets by Chechen terrorists in Russia to Thursday's Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta -- Berlin and Moscow have vowed to increase their cooperation to stop international terrorism.
In a joint statement released Thursday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Russian President Vladimir Putin said the two countries would work together to stop terrorists from obtaining or developing "nuclear, chemical, radiological or biological weapons, the means of transporting them or related materials and arms and technologies."
"Countries that have requested aid from the United Nations in the fight against international terrorism" should also be supported by Germany and Russia, the statement read.
The two leaders said that closer cooperation would help the countries "strengthen our capabilities of preventing and reducing the consequences of terrorist attacks -- also against our missions abroad." Schröder and Putin ordered a high-level working group of German and Russian security officials to develop a cooperation plan.
"A heinous attack"
Two men carry young hostages who managed to escape from the school building after special forces entered the school in Beslan, North Ossetia.
The statement also described the Russian Federation as the target of "heinous attacks of international terrorism" and made note of the terrorist massacre at a Beslan school which killed more than 350 people, many of them children. "The monstrous terrorist act carried out against innocent children in Beslan attests to a new dimension of danger." Schröder and Putin also appealed for a "central and coordinating role" of the UN in the fight against terrorism.
The leaders had intended the statement to be part of opening remarks for the annual German-Russian "Petersburger Dialogue" consultations at Hamburg's Gottorf Palace scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Traditionally, the German and Russian governments hold parallel talks during consultations -- but in light of the terrorist acts in Russia, Putin cancelled his visit this year.
Nevertheless, the event will go on as planned with around 150 representatives of German and Russian political, business, media and scientific organizations. The organizers have determined to continue with the event despite the terrorist acts.
"We've come to the conclusion that it would be good to carry out this dialog because we are of the opinion that, especially in times of greater distress, solidarity is important along with talk and dialogue," said Klaus Mangold, a Petersburg organizer.