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Rice in Lithuania for NATO Meeting

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, left, shares a word with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, center, during NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting in Vilnius, Thursday
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other NATO foreign ministers are holding talks in Lithuania, in the alliance's first major meeting on territory once occupied by the former Soviet Union.

The informal talks in Vilnius are expected to focus on the alliance's operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans, as well as ways NATO can support the Middle East peace process.

Secretary Rice arrived in Vilnius Wednesday from talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where she called for greater transparency and rule of law in Russia.

Ms. Rice has also said it is time for a change in Belarus, calling it central Europe's last true dictatorship.

The United States has frequently criticized Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko for suppressing free speech and civil rights.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.