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Kissinger, Primakov to head Russia-U.S. working group -1

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Russia and the United States are forming a working group that will focus on the future of bilateral relations and will be co-chaired by a former Russian premier and an ex-U.S. secretary of state.

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MOSCOW, April 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States are forming a working group that will focus on the future of bilateral relations and will be co-chaired by a former Russian premier and an ex-U.S. secretary of state.

President Vladimir Putin met with the co-chairmen, Yevgeny Primakov and Henry Kissinger, in Moscow Thursday and welcomed the idea.

"I have supported the Russian-American initiative to set up the working group ..., which will unite famous and respected politicians and public figures of both countries," Putin said.

Primakov, who also heads the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the group would gather for its first meeting in early July in Moscow. "The results of debates will be reported to the leaderships of both countries," said Primakov, Russia's prime minister from September 1998 to May 1999.

Kissinger, who is also head of his own international consultancy, said President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had approved the idea, and called on the international community to treat Russia as an equal partner, which, he said, is what Putin is trying to attain.

Kissinger, U.S. secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, has been a frequent guest in Russia since Putin took office in 2000.

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