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Russia: Albright And Ivanov Begin Talks

Moscow, 31 January 2000 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov are meeting in Moscow on issues ranging from Chechnya to nuclear disarmament. Albright said earlier she will reiterate U.S. concerns over Russia's four-month military campaign in Chechnya. Albright and other officials are in the Russian capital for the start of multilateral peace talks on the Mideast. Later this week, Albright is expected to meet with Russian acting President Vladimir Putin.

With fighting continuing to rage in Chechnya, Albright is expected to again urge Moscow to end the conflict and negotiate with Chechen separatists. Speaking to reporters on her flight to Moscow, Albright noted that Russian casualties are rising and said Moscow faces more international isolation as the war drags on. But she ruled out the U.S. imposing economic sanctions over the conflict.

Albright said she also intends to discuss in Moscow further cuts in the U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear arsenals and a U.S. plan to build a national missile defense, which Russia opposes.