Moscow warns against rise of Islamism in the Middle East
Russian President Dmitry Medevedev on Tuesday warned that the anti-government protests spreading across the Middle East could result in Muslim extremists seizing power, DPA reported.
It would mean Islamist "fires" lasting decades and "the further spread of extremism - we have to face the truth," he told a meeting of the Russian anti-terrorism committee, according to the news agency Interfax.
During the unexpected visit to Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, in the North Caucasus, the president also announced new measures to combat terrorists in the region.
Islamists, who for years have been fighting to establish a "Caucasus Emirate," independent of Moscow launch almost daily attacks in the region.
Medvedev stressed that Russia would not allow religious extremists to take over.
"In no circumstances will there be such a scenario in Russia," he said.
Moscow is also worried about what unrest across the Arab world could do to its arms sales.
The country has had contracts in the region worth 10 billion dollars, Interfax wrote.
Libya's leader Moamer Gaddafi is one of Russia's most important clients.