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We failed to see threat - Putin

Putin, watched by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, lays a wreath at memorial for Soviet soldiers
Putin, watched by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, lays a wreath at memorial for Soviet soldiers  

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said East and West were so consumed by the Cold War mentality they failed to spot the growing threat of terrorism.

"The Cold War is over. The world is at a new stage of development. Without a sustainable, international security policy we will never have stability," Putin told the Bundestag in a historic address in flawless German.

"Who is guilty of these attacks? We all are because we have failed to see that the world has changed in the last 10 years.

"We don't trust each other. The world has changed, it's not just two warring camps. It is much more complex.

"The old Cold War mentality has prevented both sides from seeing the common threat."

Russian President Vladimir Putin pledges assistance to the U.S.-led initiative. CNN's David Ensor reports (September 25)

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Putin said that before leaving Moscow, he met Muslim leaders who said they wanted to run a conference in Moscow called "Islam against Terror."

"We should support this," the Russian president said to loud applause.

Putin -- who worked in Germany as a KGB spy -- is the first Russian president to address the country's lower house of parliament, a rare privilege for a foreign dignitary. His speech was punctuated by bouts of applause from the floor.

Putin emphasised his country's close political and economic links with Germany. He also emphasised the progress made by the Russian economy in recent years.

"Russia is an extremely dynamic country within Europe, not just in political terms but also in economic terms," said Putin.

Earlier, appearing at a news conference after a meeting with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday, Putin said it was important "never to flirt" with terrorists.

"I would remind you of the words of President Bush -- we must concentrate our efforts foremost on freezing the sources of finance to terrorists," he said.

"They should feel they are totally politically and ideologically isolated," he said.

For his part, Schroeder said: "This shows that we are well-advised to work with Russia as a partner to combating worldwide threats."

"That wasn't everywhere so clear. Now it is."

In a TV speech on Monday Putin outlined unprecedented co-operation between Russia and the U.S. against terrorism -- though it stopped short of allowing American forces to launch attacks from Russian air space.

He said that there would be "active co-operation" of Russian, U.S. and international secret services in intelligence gathering and exchange.

Russia is also to open its air space for humanitarian flights. Central Asian republics share Russia's position but are free to decide if their airspace and bases can be used by the U.S. military.

Russian forces will also participate in search and rescue operations in the area where anti-terrorist operations are ongoing.

And Russia will expand its cooperation with the Afghan opposition, including providing military aid.

For Putin, the three-day state visit to Germany has been a chance to work on the "strategic partnership" with Moscow that Europe, and especially Germany, have been eager to promote since the end of the Cold War.

Putin's rapport with Germany has been helped by his fluency in German. In four previous summits, images of Putin and Schroeder riding a Russian sled or chatting with each other's wives in the Reichstag also conveyed a sense of German-Russian camaraderie.

Germany holds nearly half of the about $48 billion Russia owes to the Paris Club of creditor nations, more than any other country -- though Moscow has kept to its repayments schedule this year.

After meeting Schroeder, Putin laid a wreath at a memorial for Soviet soldiers who died in World War II. On Wednesday he travels to the western city of Dusseldorf for talks with German business leaders.

Thursday's schedule takes Putin back east to Dresden, the city where he served as a Soviet spy during the Cold War. After a tour of local landmarks Schroeder and his wife, Doris Schroeder-Koepf, will host the Putins for lunch.


• Russia offers 'all possible support'
September 19, 2001
• Russia backs global terror force
September 20, 2001

• Russian Government
• German Federal Government

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