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#26 - JRL 2007-213 - JRL Home
Foreign Leaders Should Meet With Rights Activists - Putin

MOSCOW. Oct 10 (Interfax) - There is nothing wrong with French President Nicolas Sarkozy planning to meet with human rights activists from the Memorial Center in Moscow, Vladimir Putin said.

"I see nothing special with the French president meeting with Memorial or whichever organization he might want to meet with," Putin told a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday after talks with Sarkozy.

"What I think about this - I think: thank God, we still have such organizations that can and are assuming responsibility by calling the attention of the authorities to their mistakes," Putin said.

"It is not good when such organizations are being used by one country against another as a tool for attaining its foreign policy goals, in which case such organizations compromise themselves," the Russian president said.

In Russia we have the Presidential Council for developing civil society institutions and human rights, he said. "I am satisfied that I was able to listen to their criticism of the authorities. We can either agree or disagree on that, but we must hear what these people feel necessary to say to the authorities. As for the Memorial organization, it is a member of that Council," Putin said.