United States President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have pledged to join forces to help boost security at major sport events, including the Sochi 2014 Olympics and Paralympics, after meeting on the sidelines of the G8 summit.
As well as discussing the Syrian conflict, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Iran’s nuclear program and missile defense related issues at the Northern Ireland meeting, the leaders of the two states agreed that security at public events will become an area of interaction between Russia and the U.S.
“The United States and Russia intend to continue to develop their counter terrorism partnership with the business community, including in the field of protecting the tourist sector,” Obama and Putin said in joint statement. “Providing security for major sporting and public events, including the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, is to be an important area of interaction.”
Obama reiterated that the two states should enhance cooperation in counter terrorism and other areas, including public security issues related to next year’s Sochi Olympics.
“I had a very useful conversation with President Putin, and I began by thanking him again for the cooperation that was provided in dealing with the tragedy of the bombing at the Boston Marathon,” he explained. “We have a shared interest in countering terrorist violence, and we are continuing to strengthen our cooperation on this issue, including as we welcome Russia hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi.”
This latest move follows the temporary restoration of a cooperation between the British and Russian security services that will see the two nations working together to help ensure that Sochi 2014 goes ahead safely.
Sochi is alarmingly close to Russia’s Muslim provinces of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, while the North Caucasus region is home to a raging Islamist insurgency, where attacks by militants fuelled by poverty and the ideology of global jihadism are a frequent occurrence.
The issue came under increased spotlight in April this year when two suspects with links to the volatile area allegedly detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon, leaving three spectators dead and further 200 injured.
Meanwhile, a suicide bombing in Moscow in 2011 killed at least 35 people at Domodedovo, Russia’s busiest airport – something International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge claimed had not shaken confidence that Sochi will host a safe Olympics and Paralympics in 2014.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.