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. Rice discusses Iran with Russian foreign minister: Moscow
MOSCOW, July 16 (AFP) Jul 16, 2008
Russia said Wednesday that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had called her Russian counterpart on Tuesday to discuss a number of issues, including Iran's nuclear programme.

"On July 15, at the request of the American side, a telephone conversation took place between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The two discussed a range of issues, including "the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme and the problems of the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts," the statement said.

Russia has resisted US calls for stiffer international penalties on Iran for its nuclear programme. Tehran says the programme is civilian while Washington accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Moscow and Washington have also clashed this month over Georgia, a former Soviet republic that faces separatist conflicts with its breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Rice visited Georgia last week in a demonstration of US support for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and to push for a mediated resolution in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.

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