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Russia offers 'all possible support'

Ivanov, Powell
Ivanov and Powell at a news conference in Washington.  

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russia is ready to "render all possible support to the United States" in the fight against terrorism, officials said Wednesday.

The pledge came in a joint statement issued by the U.S.-Russia Working Group on Countering Threats from Afghanistan, which held an extraordinary session in Moscow on Wednesday.

It came as Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington.

At a news conference in Washington after the meeting, Ivanov said: ''All means must be used in the fight against terrorism, beginning from the political and legal means, and including, when and if necessary, the use of force.''

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Powell said Ivanov and other Russian leaders put forward no conditions for their support, despite differences between the two nations on issues including Chechnya and a U.S. missile defense plan that would violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.

"We all talked about all of these items as we always do -- missile defense, ABM, Chechnya -- but they presented no linkages between that and the current incident," Powell said. "The current tragedy that we're dealing with -- they were very forthcoming, they want to be helpful, and they didn't put any specific requests or bills with links on the table."

The working group that met in Russia on Wednesday is led by Richard Armitage, U.S. deputy secretary of state, and Vyacheslav Trubnikov, first deputy foreign minister of Russia.

The statement said the two sides "spoke in favour of creating a broad antiterrorist coalition of all countries interested in fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations."

The United States, it said, set forth in detail the status of its investigation into the terrorist attacks and current U.S. strategy in its fight against the global terrorist infrastructure, especially, it said, to the threat presented by Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda organization.

Both sides said they were ready to unite efforts of all states, in accordance with international law, including the U.N. charter, a key concern of Russia so far.

Russia and the U.S. also said they will enhance efforts to counter threats coming from the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying the fight should not be a "one time effort or spontaneous in nature, but rather be based on a comprehensive and long-term basis" to "stamp out this universal evil as a phenomenon."

U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet next month in China during an economic summit and then again in November, when Putin will visit Bush's ranch in Texas.

Ivanov left the State Department for a White House meeting with Bush and congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott.

-- CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.

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