U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Ankara, amid U.S. concern about the state of democratic reform in Russia.
Ms. Rice and Mr. Lavrov held talks in the Turkish capital to lay the groundwork for a meeting this month between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Earlier Saturday, Ms. Rice said it is no secret the United States is concerned about some of the developments in Russia. The Bush administration has been critical of what it sees as an authoritarian trend by Mr. Putin's government.
Before meeting with Mr. Lavrov, Ms. Rice held talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as she sought to allay Turkish concerns about the Kurdish situation in Iraq.
Ms. Rice will fly to the Middle East on Sunday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.