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Russia angered by speech of suspected militant in top U.S. university

RIA Novosti

17:42 17/02/2011 MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is outraged after a top U.S. university invited a suspected Russian militant, who is on an international wanted list, as a guest speaker for a panel discussion, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexander Lukashevich, said on Thursday.

Ilyas Akhmadov, who according to Russia served as an aide for notorious Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev, participated on Monday in the Crisis in the North Caucasus: Any Way Out? panel discussion at the John Hopkins University in Maryland.

"We are bewildered and outraged that the well-known John Hopkins University gave the floor to a former militant, who served as an aide for the international terrorist Basayev. Moreover, we are talking about a criminal who is on the international wanted list. Unfortunately, this person is still registered in the United States as a refugee," Lukashevich said.

Basayev, who was behind some of the most gruesome terrorist attacks on Russian soil, including the September 2004 Beslan school siege, was killed by federal troops in July 2006.

Such events, he said, as at the John Hopkins University "play into the hands of terrorists and their allies."

The diplomat also called on the United States to remove its objections in regard to Russia's proposal to include its suspected militant Doku Umarov on the UN Security Council list of the most dangerous wanted terrorists.

Russia submitted this proposal last November with the UN Security Council commission 1267, which deals with sanctions against the Taliban movement, al-Qaeda and other organizations linked to them. Russia claims that Umarov and his movement, the Caucasus Emirate, are closely linked to al-Qaeda.

"Russia's arguments and evidence submitted with the 1267 committee have conclusively proven that Umarov and his so-called Caucasus Emirate are closely linked with al-Qaeda and the Taliban movement. However, the committee decided to stay its decision on our application after the United States objected," Lukashevich said.

The United States claims that Russia provided insufficient proof that Umarov and his movement were linked to Al-Qaeda, he said, adding however that last year the U.S. Department of State included Umarov in the national list of the most dangerous international terrorists.

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