Washington — The U.S.-Russian Counterterrorism Working Group met May 26-27 to discuss critical counterterrorism issues faced by the two nations, but also to discuss a wide range of other political and security issues, says R. Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs. "Counterterrorism has been, I think, one of the strongest links between the United States and Russia, particularly in the last several years," Burns said May 27 during a briefing following the meetings between the two delegations. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak co-chairs the group with Burns.
The United States has an overriding national security interest in cooperating with Russia to combat terrorism and in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
The meeting was the 13th of the working group since it was created five years ago through an initiative of President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kislyak said that the United States and Russia are planning to expand cooperation and broader practical interaction between experts on dealing with terrorists” homemade-bomb making.
"The Russian side has a unique technology for countering explosive devices used by terrorists," Kislyak said.
Burns said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) works with the Russian government on the entire range of explosive-related problems including searching for the best ways of countering terrorists” methods.
The two delegations also discussed counternarcotics cooperation in general, but also more specifically in South and Central Asia, and efforts to stem the tide of terrorism in Afghanistan, Burns said.
Burns also said the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has begun working with Russian civil aviation authorities to help with enhanced security measures, and the United States hopes to expand those security initiatives into other areas of transportation security.
Other issues the delegations discussed included terrorist financing networks, money laundering schemes in North America, Europe and Central Asia and expanded law enforcement cooperation with Russian law enforcement authorities and the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, Burns said.