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Putin, Rice Hold Talks Near Moscow

15 October 2005 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice outside of Moscow.

During the meeting, Rice said the two countries have a "firm basis for a strong partnership."

Putin called Rice's visit this last week to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan "very successful." He added that Russia, the United States, and the nations in the region have common interests in fighting terrorism and stabilizing Afghanistan.

Earlier today, Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov acknowledged that they disagree on Iran's rights to pursue a nuclear energy program.

Lavrov said all members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) have this right. But Rice said the NPT comes not only with rights, but also with obligations.

"We and Russia have found common cause in our attempts to help the Europeans and other countries to get the Iranians to first of all remove the many questions that the international system has about their program, but also to recognize that the NPT comes not just with rights but with obligation," Rice said.

Rice is expected to fly to London later today for talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.