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Russian-US Relationship is Strong, say Foreign Ministers after Moscow Talks - 2004-01-26

Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun talks at the Kremlin with visiting Secretary of State Colin Powell. Mr. Powell earlier met with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov for talks ranging from fighting terrorism to promoting democracy.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Secretary of State Colin Powell say the U.S.-Russian relationship is strong.

Addressing reporters before talks in Moscow, both leaders said they would discuss ways to enhance cooperation in matters of regional and international concern. While each said the bilateral relationship is on a sound footing, there are signs of discord.

In a front-page article published in the Russian daily Izvestia, Secretary Powell expressed unease about democratization in Russia, as well as the ongoing war in Chechnya. He also questioned Moscow's treatment of neighboring former Soviet republics.

In his talks with President Putin, Mr. Powell is expected to press for greater cooperation from Moscow for the U.S.-led fight against global terrorism. Other issues on the agenda include Iraqi reconstruction efforts, American concerns about nuclear proliferation and tension in Afghanistan and the Middle East.