US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Lithuania for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, after wrapping up a two-day trip to Russia, where she urged the country to improve its democratic record.
Ms. Rice traveled Wednesday to Vilnius from Moscow, where she held talks at the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader said he and Ms. Rice discussed a number of bilateral and international issues in preparation for President Bush's visit next month. Earlier in the day, Ms. Rice told Russian radio that Moscow is a "strategic partner" in international matters, like the Middle East, the Balkans and the war on terror. But she says Washington remains concerned over a crackdown on Russia's independent media. The top U.S. diplomat also says too much power has been consolidated under President Putin.