The news of the attack on the Metro station in #Saint Petersburg on Monday spread quickly around the world and one result was a telephone conversation between Russia’s President #Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump of the United States. That call must not be a standalone moment for the future.

Station

The suicide attack on the attack in the Tekenologchesky Metro station in Saint Petersburg left 11 dead and 45 injured. At this stage suspicions have been directed towards Islamist terrorists due not only to Russia’s involvement in the war with ISIS in Syria but also due to the constant threat of Chechen terrorists that have attacked Russian targets over the years.

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The war on terror has dominated world politics in recent years and was in fact part of #Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign. Therefore it was natural that President Donald Trump would call his Russian counterpart to express solidarity with the Kremlin for the dead and injured.

Statement

A statement from the White House reported by the major news outlets said the President Trump offered “full support” for finding those responsible for the attack so that they could be brought to justice. Finally the statement said that “Both President Trump and President Putin agreed that #Terrorism must be decisively and quickly defeated.”

Expressions of support for Moscow also came from around the world including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

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All these statements of support are right and proper in the immediate aftermath of any terrorist attack and it must be remembered that it is not the only terrorist attack suffered by Russia in recent years. But it also must not be a standalone moment and used as an opportunity by the Kremlin to undertake other actions under the cover of the attack.

Next steps

In the light of Russia’s increasing foreign aggressive diplomatic actions those countries that now have expressed their support for Russia must also watch over how the Kremlin reacts to the attack and any others that may follow.

The United States, the NATO allies and other countries must keep vigil to ensure that the tactics used by the Russians still conform to the standards of behaviour expected of a superpower in the use of force and in respect of the rights of the suspects. This vigilance must begin with the White House.

The fight against terror is one of the world’s top priorities and will not be won until the terrorists are defeated and this will not occur until the root causes for the terrorism have been addressed and the countries that have inspired the Islamist and other terrorists find true peace within their borders.

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Solutions

Terrorism will not disappear when those responsible for the attacks have been punished, it will only disappear when young people around the world have no reason to see the terrorists as heroes and they have no reason to take up arms to fight for their right to their religion.

Terrorism will not disappear until the countries of origin enjoy the same rights and freedoms enjoyed by the world’s major Democracies.

This will not happen with simple telephone calls of solidarity following the latest terrorist attack and it will certainly not happen until the superpowers, beginning with Russia and the United States, work together to resolve the problems of those unstable countries that are the sources of the terrorists.

And it will certainly not happen as long as the major powers believe that only Islamists are the problem and that state run and condoned terrorism does not exist

The attack on Saint Petersburg is a tragedy but sadly it will not be the last such attack. Yet it can be the start of a joint approach, beginning with Moscow and Washington, to finding a permanent solution to the many causes in too many countries that inspire young people to seek death rather than a life of peace.

Until that happens yesterday’s telephone call will only be the first of many for years into the future.