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Rice Calls Russia 'Strategic Partner'

Rice is visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state 20 April 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today called Russia a "strategic partner" and urged more cooperation on several fronts.

Rice made the remarks during an interview on Moscow Echo radio shortly before scheduled meeting with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Kremlin.

Rice -- who arrived in Moscow yesterday -- described Russia as a "strategic partner in the war on terror" and "in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction," and "in solving regional issues like the Balkans and the Middle East."

Rice's first visit to Russia as U.S. secretary of state is in part to prepare for the visit of U.S. President George W. Bush to Moscow in May to attend 60th anniversary celebrations of the defeat of Nazi Germany.