Former Soviet leader meets with new American president
WASHINGTON Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev spoke with President George W. Bush and left the White House assured that, despite a rocky start, Bush wanted "a good and friendly relationship" with Russia.
Gorbachev, at the White House for a meeting with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, spoke briefly with Bush in the West Wing.
"It is definitely my impression that President Bush would like to meet with [Russian] President Putin, that he would like that meeting to happen as soon as reasonably possible," Gorbachev told reporters, with the help of an interpreter.
Bush "wants to work for a good and friendly relationship of cooperation between Russia and the United States," he said.
U.S. press group assails Russia over media assault'
WASHINGTON The National Press Club, long a forum for speakers from around the world, sharply criticized the Russian government for what it called a "Kremlin-orchestrated assault on critical media."
In a letter to Russian Ambassador Yury V. Ushakov, the president of the club, Richard Ryan, said the takeover of the once-independent television station NTV by Russia's state-connected natural gas giant was deeply disturbing. Ryan also complained about the disappearance of the Sevodnya newspaper from newsstands and the barring of Itogi's staff from the magazine's office.
Foreign Ministry criticizes Turkey over Chechen rebels
The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized Turkey for failing to crack down on supporters of the rebel Chechen cause, suggesting that the Turkish government could head off such incidents as the recent seizure of an Istanbul hotel by pro-Chechen gunmen. "The latest incident ... calls forth serious concern," the ministry said in a statement. "The Russian Federation has more than once directed Turkey's attention to the possibility of similar actions on the part of extremists and groups located on the territory of Turkey that offer support of various kinds to Chechen terrorists."
Armenians mark genocide
YEREVAN Heads bowed in respect, a solemn procession of Armenians filed past a monument and eternal flame in Yerevan to mark the 86th anniversary of the beginning of the killings of Armenians in Turkey.
Armenians say 1.5 million of their people died in an Ottoman Empire campaign to force them from eastern Turkey between 1915 and 1923. Turkey says the death count is inflated, and that Armenians were killed or displaced as the Ottoman Empire tried to quell civil unrest.
The country's government has asked Turkey to apologize as a condition for establishing diplomatic relations.
Russian soldiers pack up, prepare for Georgia exit
TBILISI Russian soldiers loaded the last trainload of military gear on a train Tuesday for removal from their Vaziani base near Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, as the date for turning the base over to Georgia's military draws nearer.
Russia must hand over the base by July 1 under a 1999 agreement with Georgia, a former Soviet republic in the Caucasus. All heavy weapons including tanks and armored personnel carriers were removed last year.
Moscow's Udarnik cinema damaged in blaze
Fire broke out in one of Moscow's oldest and most noted cinemas Tuesday, forcing evacuation of the building and reportedly causing substantial damage. No casualties were reported in the blaze at the Udarnik cinema on an island in the Moscow River across from the Kremlin. The fire destroyed about 150 sq. meters of the movie house, the NTV television network reported.