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Putin Meets With PACE President --> Rene van der Linden (file photo) (RFE/RL) May 29, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin met today with the head of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE).

Russia assumed the rotating six-month presidency of PACE's Committee of Foreign Ministers on May 19, the first time that Russia has held the post since joining the European rights watchdog in 1996.

The Russian president told Rene van der Linden that Russia will "try to do everything" to develop its cooperation with the Council of Europe while it leads the organization.

Ahead of the meeting, van der Linden said in a statement that Russia's chairmanship gives it the opportunity "to demonstrate that it is a full part of democratic Europe, as an equal partner."

Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian democracy would develop at its own speed.


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