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Russia, China Would Support Coalition Government in Afghanistan

Top Chinese and Russian officials say they would support a new, coalition government in Afghanistan. The two governments also are said to agree on an approach to fighting terrorism. The comments came in a telephone conversation between the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers and were reported in China's official press.

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told Russia's top diplomat Igor Ivanov an Afghan coalition government able to cooperate with neighboring countries in a friendly manner would benefit peace, stability and the Afghan people.

Chinese government-controlled newspapers report Russia's Ivanov says the international community should support a broad-based coalition government.

Most of Afghanistan is ruled by the hard-line Taliban Islamic movement, which is hosting Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization, accused of killing thousands of Americans in terrorist attacks.

Both China and Russia have conflicts with Islamic separatists operating in their countries. Experts say these separatists might be getting some support from groups inside Afghanistan.

China's Minister Tang says Beijing and Moscow have the same stance and interests on the issue of anti-terrorism.

Chinese officials say concerns about the possibility of the current conflict in Afghanistan spreading into China prompted Beijing to move more troops into the sensitive border zone.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi says Beijing has closed its border with Afghanistan and ordered foreigners, particularly journalists, to stay out of the area.

China and Russia, longtime Cold War enemies of the United States, have both backed Washington's war on terrorism after September's deadly terror attacks on New York and the Pentagon left thousands of Americans dead.

Mr. Sun says China's police are working to track down the people responsible for the attacks on the United States and promised to quickly share any relevant "leads or information."