Russian defense minister says U.S. inspections of Russian nuclear facilities not being considered

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday that Moscow was not considering the possibility of American inspectors visiting Russian nuclear installations, the Interfax news agency reported.

The report followed U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statement to the contrary just hours earlier during an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

She said that she and Ivanov had discussed the issue over dinner Tuesday night, and that she had won assurances of some improved access. She added her hope, however, that more progress would be made before the Moscow meeting next month between U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Associated Press

On the photo: Sergei Ivanov

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