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Global Elders To Meet Putin In Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and other prominent former global leaders in Moscow on April 29.

The visit of an influential group called The Elders comes at a time when Russia's relations with the West are severely strained over Moscow's seizure of Crimea and the deadly conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Putin is meeting with the group because of worsening tensions, saying the group's discussions are mostly "conceptual" in nature.

"The current turbulent situation is just yet another excuse for holding such a meeting," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met with Carter and other members of the group on April 28, praised their "willingness to contribute to the solution of international problems."

The Elders, brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 and now chaired by Annan, call themselves "an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights."

Based on reporting by TASS, Interfax, and Reuters

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