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Russia: Annan, Putin Meet In Moscow

Moscow, 5 June 2002 (RFe/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow today for talks focusing on crises in the Middle East and Kashmir. Annan said he is appalled by today's suicide bombing in northern Israel, which he called "the brutal, intentional killing of innocent people."

Annan also told Putin that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf missed an opportunity to begin to resolve their dispute over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

"The two leaders [Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee] failed to seize the opportunity offered by the conference and the offers you [Russian President Vladimir Putin] and others made to help resolve the conflict."

Putin met separately with Musharraf and Vajpayee on the sidelines of a regional conference in Kazakhstan yesterday. He said the leaders both sent positive signals that gave him hope of a resolution.

Annan is also expected to meet with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov during his three-day visit to Russia, which began yesterday.