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Gorbachev Pleased with Improvement in US-Russia Relations - 2002-05-30

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev says he is pleased with the improvement in U.S.-Russian relations, stemming from President Bush's recent trip to Russia.

Mr. Gorbachev says the meeting last week between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin has helped improve relations between the former rivals. "I believe that this meeting has really established greater trust between the leaders of these two countries - the countries that used to be opposite each other, as heads of major alliances during the Cold War," he said. "And they are now getting rid of the legacy of the policies of the Cold War."

Mr. Gorbachev discussed a number of international issues at a news conference on the sidelines of a meeting he attended in London on the problem of capital flight and money laundering in Russia.

The former Soviet leader says he disagrees with those who call for military action to stop Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction. "There is a discussion underway in Iraq, and they would like to find a way to show to the international community and to the world that they are not planning some kind of terrible thing," he said.

The United States says Iraq could accomplish that by allowing United Nations weapons inspections to resume in compliance with Security Council resolutions.

Mr. Gorbachev also commented on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He called on the United States, the European Union, Russia and the Arab nations to work together to try to revive the Middle East peace process.