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US-Russia relations "fundamentally improved" - Powell
December 8, 2001

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on the eve of a visit to Moscow that US relations with Russia had "fundamentally changed" for the better since the September 11 suicide attacks.

He said talks planned for Monday in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov underlined the improvement in ties.

"Relations between the US and Russia have fundamentally changed," Powell told reporters after meeting Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov in the capital of the Cental Asian republic, Tashkent.

"Russia, after September 11, made in the person of President Putin a powerful statement supporting our objectives. We appreciate that."

"Yesterday, (at NATO headquarters) in Brussels we committed ourselves to work with Russia more closely. I think this is evidence of Russia integrating itself more fully with the West and with the United States."

He said his forthcoming meeting with Ivanov was his 15th in his time as secretary of state and was "evidence of the closeness of the relationship."

Powell added: "The relations are improving and it is not just a result of our cooperation in the fight against terrorism but because we have mutual interests."

Powell was due to leave Tashkent on Saturday for Kazakhstan after cancelling a planned visit to the neighbouring state of Kyrgyzstan because of bad weather.

He is due to arrive in Moscow late Sunday.

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