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Rice Discusses North Korea With Russian Leaders


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has held talks with Russian leaders in Moscow primarily to discuss the North Korea nuclear crisis. However she also highlighted human rights issues.

Condoleezza Rice met behind closed doors with President Vladimir Putin and Russia's Foreign and Defense ministers to discuss North Korea.

However no statements were made during or after the meetings, which come on the last stop of Rice's tour that has included stops in Japan, South Korea and China.

The goal of her trip has mostly focused on ensuring the United Nations sanctions adopted against North Korea last week will be fully enforced.

But confusion remains about whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il apologized for the recent nuclear test and promised there would not be another one.

Mr. Kim reportedly made the comment to a Chinese envoy who visited Pyongyang last week.

Speaking with reporters on the flight from Beijing to Moscow, Rice said she doubts the report is accurate because the envoy and other Chinese officials made no mention of it during her meetings in Beijing on Friday.

Meanwhile, Russia has called on both the United States and North Korea to show more flexibility" in order to resolve their differences. In a statement aired on Russian state television, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said it is important to avoid what he termed uncompromising positions on the nuclear issue. He said Russia favors a resumption of the six-party negotiations aimed at resolving the nuclear dispute.

Talks involving North and South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States broke off a year ago when North Korea demanded that it only wanted to talk directly to the United States.

Rice also met with the editors and relatives of Anna Politkovskaya, the prominent investigative journalist murdered in Moscow two weeks ago.

The meeting was held in a hotel between her talks with Russian officials in a move clearly intended to show support for one of Russia's last independent media outlets.

A fierce critic of the Kremlin's human rights abuses in Chechnya, Politkovskaya was murdered two weeks ago in an apparent contract hit.

Both the United States and European Union have called on Russian authorities to hunt down and prosecute the killers.

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