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RIA Novosti

HELSINKI, April 14 (RIA Novosti's Olga Andrianova) - The United Nations General Assembly will approve a Russian draft convention on the prevention of nuclear terrorism as it gathers in New York this next fall, MP Konstantin Kosachev says.

Kosachev, who heads the international affairs committee in the State Duma, or Russia's lower house of parliament, is now in Helsinki, attending an international seminar on nuclear terrorism prevention. He told a Russian press conference on Thursday that earlier this week, the UN GA had, at long last, set down to considering Russia's draft. "It has taken seven years for the global community to come to realize the importance of this issue," remarked the Russian MP.

According to Kosachev, Russia has by now ratified 11 out of the 12 anti-terrorist UN conventions. The final, twelfth convention, On the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection, is to be put to a vote at the State Duma shortly, he said.

Identifying terrorism-related issues of primary concern to Russia, Kosachev above all mentioned protection of human rights in the context of anti-terrorist operations and balance between a country's territorial integrity and the right of constituent ethnic communities to self-determination.

"Nations who have never experienced a terrorist threat first-hand are under the illusion that terrorism can be fought with 'white gloves on.' But that's not the way things are in reality," Kosachev remarked.

Expanding on the latter concern, the Russian MP pointed out that "until we address the issue, terrorists will [continue] looking for loopholes, presenting their activity as struggle for independence."

International terrorists will be trying to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, he warned. "Today we are facing an enemy who does not give a damn about retaliation. Dying in the name of jihad means holy martyrdom to himself/herself and his/her associate. "

It is blood, shock and fear in the civilian population, not territorial gains, that terrorists are really after these days. And alarmingly, weapons of mass destruction are best suited for such objectives, Kosachev pointed out. But he said he disagreed with those who maintained that Russia's WMD arsenal was the least protected from hijacking. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, not a single one of its 25,00 nuclear warheads has been smuggled out; nor have any radioactive leaks been registered over the period, he said, adding that international experts confirm these facts.

Double standards vis-a-vis nuclear developments do pose a serious threat in terms of WMD falling into terrorists' hands, Kosachev said. In this connection, he cited the U.S.' tacit support for Israel's nuclear weapons program, which, in his view, encouraged other countries to follow suit.

Keynote speeches at the Helsinki seminar were delivered, among others, by Hans Blix, chair of the independent international commission for weapons of mass destruction; Paavo Lipponen, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament; and experts from the United States and Israel.

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