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Russia Observes 9/11 Terror Attack Anniversary


Americans and Russians in Moscow have held a memorial service to remember the thousands who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, five years ago Monday. Foreign ambassadors and citizens from Russia and America were in attendance.

Orthodox hymns were sung and a bell tolled out in remembrance of the thousands of people who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

American Ambassador to Russia William Burns told the gathering that five years after the September 11 tragedy and two years after the attack in southern Russia at the school in Beslan terrorism remains a real world threat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first world leader to call President Bush with condolences, following the September 11 attacks. Mr. Putin later became a key ally in the global war on terrorism, although that cooperation has weakened some over the years.

International rights group have since accused Russia of using the global war on terrorism to carry out continued attacks against majority Muslim Chechnya, despite their showing no real connection to Islamic extremists like Al-Qaida.

Russia rejects those charges and has lobbed some of their own at Washington.

Last week, President Putin's lead official for international cooperation in combating terrorism, Anatoly Safanov, was reported as saying that the United States has made serious foreign policy errors in the years after the attacks.

For example, Mr. Safanov says authorities in Washington have underestimated the drug problem in Afghanistan and also allowed Iraq to become, in his words, a terrorist conveyor belt. He says Washington would have done better to concentrate on Aghanistan's problems, before intervening in Iraq.

Mr. Safonov's comments come amid a strain in relations between Moscow and Washington over a range of issues, from Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, to reported links between Russian defense firms and Iran.