Russia hints at Pak-Afghan militants’ hand in blasts


Toronto/Moscow : Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who is in Canada to attend a foreign ministers’ summit, said terrorists from the Pakistan-Afghan border region may have a hand in Monday’s suicide attacks in Moscow that left 38 people dead.

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Lavrov said Islamic militants from the troubled region could have helped organise the attacks.

Two female suicide bombers attacked the Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations of the Sokolnicheskaya subway line in Moscow during the morning rush hour Monday. The first blast occurred at 8 a.m. and the second about 40 minutes later. At least 38 people were killed and more than 70 injured.

The Russian foreign minister thanked world leaders and the G8 for expressions of support for the Russian government and people in their battle against terrorism.

The minister said that Moscow “is well informed about the so-called no-man’s land on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan”, where “the terrorist underground has entrenched itself”.

“We know that many terrorist attacks – not only in Afghanistan, but in other countries too – are plotted in that area… Sometimes, the trail leads to the Caucasus,” he said and urged the global community to coordinate efforts in the fight against international terrorism and its financial sponsors.

Speaking for G8 nations as the group’s chairman for 2010, Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said: “G8 foreign ministers today strongly condemned the cowardly terrorist attacks on the Moscow subway that took place earlier this (Monday) morning, and which have killed numerous innocent civilians and injured dozens more.”

Cannon, who was hosting the Arctic summit of foreign ministers of Russia, Norway, the US and Denmark at Gatineau near Ottawa, added: “Ministers expressed their deepest sympathy to all who have been injured or bereaved by these attacks, and called for the prosecution of all those responsible.”

“They vowed that they would continue to collaborate to thwart and constrain terrorists, and to work for a world that is safe for all, based on the principles of democracy, and respect for the rule of law and for human rights.”

He said: “The ministers reiterated their commitment to further enhance the central role of the UN and to adhere to its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.”

Since Canada is holding G8 and G20 summits in June, it is the current leader of the groupings.