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Gorbachev: Terrorists using anthrax

Gorbachev:
Gorbachev: "We must not yield to panic"  


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The anthrax cases in the United States indicate that terrorists are still trying to destabilize America, former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev has told CNN.

Speaking on "Larry King Live" on Monday, Gorbachev said: "Certainly, the fact that anthrax has appeared must be another attempt by terrorists to impact the situation and to destabilize the country and to start panic.

"I think that we must not yield to panic."

He called on countries to work together to end the threat of terrorism by working within the international cooalition that has formed to fight terrorism -- something the East and West failed to do when the Cold War ended.

"We wasted too much time after the end of the Cold War, and perhaps that is why we are seeing all of these things today," he said.

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"We must work together and interact with this cooalition ... Our nations should interact."

On Monday, the Russian health minister and the official in charge of chemical weapons denied involvement in the manufacture of biological weapons, and offered a vaccine to the U.S. that was developed during the Cold War to fight anthrax exposure.

"It's very important what they both said, that there are no programs for the development of biological weapons in Russia," said Gorbachev, quoting the Russian public health officials.

"There is only research for medical purposes, similar to ones that are under way in some other countries."

Gorbachev said his country was still in the process of destroying chemical weapons in accordance with the international agreement adopted when he was the nation's leader. Even so, the pace of destruction has been too slow, he said.

"Most of the chemical weapons are in our two countries," he said.

"The process of the destruction of chemical weapons is under way. It is too slow. Nations should cooperate. They should not spare the money to get rid of those weapons as soon as possible."

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning former leader said the international coalition against terrorism now was the best weapon against the common foe of terrorism.

So far, the coalition has united countries that until recently had differing positions on various international issues, he said.

"We must do our best in order to make sure that this coalition is not broken, that it is strengthened and enhanced and that we move toward a new international order," Gorbachev said.

To that end, Russia has pledged an "exchange of intelligence" and support for humanitarian aid, Gorbachev said, but the country would not send troops into Afghanistan.

The conflict with Afghanistan, he said, should also have a political solution that would force the Taliban to hand over terrorists.

"I believe that ultimately there has to be a political solution. And, therefore, everything must be done in order to force the Taliban regime to hand over the criminals so that they could be brought to justice," he said.

"In that sense, I fully support the demands of the U.S. administration."



 
 
 
 


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