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    MOSCOW, January 26th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Today's Moscow talks of US Secretary of State Colin Powell highlighted democratisation and freedom of the press. Colin Powell said this after meeting Vladimir Putin.

    The US Secretary of State stressed that debates on these matters were not a form of interference with Russia's internal affairs. They were just a discussion between friends, he remarked.

    In Mr. Powell's opinion, the firm basis of our relations allows us to discuss controversial issues.

    Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in turn said that Russia and the United States did not shun any issues. "Moreover, we are interested in clearly reporting the Russian authorities' position on any contentious questions." In his words, Powell received such information first-hand.

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