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Ivanov Applauds US Decision to Finance Programs Targeting Nuclear, Biological Weapons

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has welcomed a U.S. decision to release more than $500 million in financial assistance aimed at financing programs that eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Russian news reports say Mr. Ivanov made the comment late Friday in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. The reports say the two men also talked about efforts to restore peace in the Middle East, cooperation in the global war on terror and the situation in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

Russian news reports say Mr. Ivanov criticized the stance on terrorism taken by Georgia, which borders the rebellious Chechen republic.

Russia has long accused Georgia of allowing Chechen separatists to use its territory as a base for attacks on Russian troops in Chechnya. Georgia rejects the allegations, saying that Russia also bears responsibility for policing the border between them.