Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Putin rules out dialogue - and public inquiry: "President Vladimir Putin rejected any dialogue with Chechen separatists, blamed for at least 335 deaths in the school hostage siege in Beslan, as thousands prepared to rally against terrorism in Moscow. 'Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace?' Mr Putin was quoted as saying."

Putin's rhetorical question is in fact a very good question indeed. If the authorities are genuinely puzzled as to 'why they hate us' then an interview with Mr Bin Laden may provide crucial illumination. And insofar as Bin Laden's (or the Chechens) demands are just and legitimate, they must be rapidly acceded to. Let us hope sanity prevails before the terrorists get or detonate a nuclear device.

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