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U.S. joins talks on combating terrorism
Secretary of State Colin Powell will participate with officials from the 55 countries in Europe's top security body in a two-day conference on combating terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mircea Geoana, chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Sunday that the meeting, being held at the former palace of the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu starting Monday, would focus on the "fight against terrorism."
A resolution outlining common strategies in the fight against global terrorism will be adopted Tuesday by the body, whose members are European, North African and Central Asian nations.
Geoana said the terrorist attacks in the United States had improved relations within the OSCE, where Russia has been at odds with the West over contentious issues such as Chechnya.
"There is a new mood between Russia and the West," he told reporters.
A Western diplomat, however, said Russian officials still have reservations about the OSCE's mission in Chechnya, where Russian troops are fighting separatist rebels. The subject is not on the agenda of the conference, which is called the ninth Ministerial Council of the OSCE.
Russian troops withdrew from Chechnya after a 1994-96 war against separatists. They returned in 1999 after militants invaded Dagestan and apartment bombings in Russia that killed more than 300 people. Rebel leaders have denied involvement in the attacks.
Powell is expected to arrive in Bucharest on Tuesday before the group adopts the resolution on terrorism, which was prepared at the OSCE's headquarters in Vienna. Arriving a day before him are German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres canceled his visit in the wake of suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa.
Geoana said the United States and Russia are cooperating more closely on common threats such as terrorism.
"There are no longer good and bad terrorists," he said. "We have to chase them all."
Also on the agenda is the endorsement of a document negotiated under the Dayton and Paris peace accords, which marked the end of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995. Talks were successfully concluded by the OSCE in July to provide security and stability in the region.