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Bush, Putin Discuss Middle East, Terrorism, Democracy


President Bush met Sunday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for talks that focused on the Middle East, terrorism, and the future of Russian democracy.

In a briefing to reporters at Mr. Putin's country residence west of Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said no topic had been taboo.

Ms. Rice said that much of the discussion focused on the need to support Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the joint determination to fight terrorism. Mr. Lavrov said Washington and Moscow have "close positions" on the issues.

Ms. Rice said the talks also covered a wide range of other issues, including Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran. She said the two men discussed Mr. Putin's view on democracy in what she called a friendly and open way.

Before heading to dinner, President Bush took a ride in Mr. Putin's 1956 Russian-made Volga car. On Monday, he will attend Russian celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe.

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