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Bush Criticizes Russia On Rights


http://gdb.rferl.org/95E2C2AE-E61C-4D68-81A1-2FFA360D2C12_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/95E2C2AE-E61C-4D68-81A1-2FFA360D2C12_mw800_mh600.jpg Presidents Bush and Putin (file photo) 22 February 2005 -- U.S. President George W. Bush has renewed criticism of Russia over the rule of law, human rights, and press freedoms but said it remains vital to maintain good ties with Moscow.

Bush said the Russian government was failing to give licences to some media. He spoke in Brussels today as he wrapped up a day of talks with European Union and NATO leaders.

"I like a country with a free press, an independent free press, and there have been some moves where the Russian government, I guess, for a better use of the word, didn't license certain members of the press," Bush said.

Bush noted that he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bratislava, Slovakia, on 24 February. He said he was not seeking to upset good, bilateral ties.

Yesterday, Bush criticized Russian human rights standards in a keynote speech at the beginning of his European tour.

Putin told the Slovak media ahead of the U.S.-Russian summit that his country will pursue democratic change on its own.

He said the road to democracy must be adapted to the realities of Russian life, traditions, and history.

(Reuters/dpa)

See RFE/RL's special "Bush-Putin Summit" webpage for on-the-ground reports and keen insight and analysis of the 24 February meeting between U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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