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Russia: Security Council Chief Visits Washington

Washington, 17 February 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian Security Council Chief Sergei Ivanov is in Washington today to deliver a letter to President Bill Clinton from acting President Vladimir Putin. Ivanov refuses to say what Putin wrote in the letter. Ivanov said when he arrived yesterday that he will talk with U.S. officials about the conflict in Chechnya, and the breakaway republic's connection with suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Russian officials say the military is fighting international terrorism in Chechnya. They say bin Laden is financing the Chechen militants through his followers in Afghanistan. But U.S. officials have been highly critical of Russia's military operation.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington said Ivanov will also talk with U.S. officials about arms control.