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Rice, Ivanov Hold Talks amid Tensions
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanov on Thursday amid tensions between the two countries.

"They are obviously going to talk about Quartet issues, but they have a lot of other US-Russia as well as multilateral issues that are on both of their plates," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a briefing.

McCormack said the talks, held on the sidelines of a Quartet meeting on the Middle East, will continue on Friday and will discuss issues including Iran, tension in former Soviet republics and Russia's political and economic reform.

Russia, who has close economic ties with Iran, has complained about US efforts to isolate Iran as well as the US move to dispatch a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf region.

Moreover, the Bush administration has criticized Russia for its alleged "backsliding" of democracy.

The United States has repeatedly accused Iran of supporting the insurgents in Iraq and secretly developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran has denied these charges.

(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2007)

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