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President Bush in Russia for Talks with President Putin


U.S. President George W. Bush has arrived in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks with President Vladimir Putin on future relations between their two countries as both men conclude their terms of office.

White House officials accompanying Mr. Bush say they do not expect the talks to produce an agreement on U.S. plans to deploy an anti-missile defense system in central Europe.

A spokeswoman said discussions on the issue are on the right track, but more work will be needed after Sochi.

Russia strongly opposes the U.S. missile defense plans, describing them as a threat to its security. But the United States says the planned system is aimed at protecting Europe from an attack from the Middle East.

Mr. Bush flew to Sochi from Croatia, where he stopped after this week's NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania.

Earlier Saturday, Mr. Bush told thousands in Zagreb that Croatia's invitation to begin NATO entry talks is a sign their country has "overcome war and hardship" and is now a maturing democracy.

NATO leaders invited Croatia and Albania to begin the talks. President Bush expressed regret that Macedonia did not get an invitation because of a dispute with Greece over the country's name. But he said Macedonia should be invited "as soon as possible."

Mr. Putin Thursday sharply criticized continued NATO expansion, especially any further movement towards Russia's borders.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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