Rice pushes for change in Ukraine

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday tried to promote a resumption of political reform in Ukraine and revive international negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programs.

The Orange Revolution in Ukraine won praise by the Bush administration as a turn toward democracy in Eastern Europe. But it is faltering under the weight of reported corruption and political divisions.

The U.S.-backed president, Viktor A. Yushchenko, apparently still has the support of the administration. The State Department has tended to portray the dissolution of Yushchenko's coalition as no more than evidence of the natural ups and downs of establishing a democracy.

On the sidelines of a gathering of world leaders for the United Nations' 60th anniversary, Rice met with Yushchenko at his hotel and urged him to follow a course of reform, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the State Department.

They also discussed economic issues and trade, the official said.

In her meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rice took up Iran's suspension of nuclear negotiations with the European Union and how to try to persuade Tehran to end the stalemate.

The secretary has courted India in hopes of sending a "unified message" to Iran.

During her week in New York, Rice indicated the administration was prepared to delay again a U.N. showdown with Iran.

Describing efforts to constrain Iran from producing nuclear weapons, Rice said "the world is not perfect in international politics. You cannot always get a 100 percent solution."

Rice last week appealed to China, Russia, India and others to support threatening Iran with penalties for refusing to halt its nuclear program.

Russia quickly made known its opposition to trying to punish Iran in the Security Council. The White House acknowledged Wednesday that President Bush was unable to get a commitment from Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, also urged the U.N. not to bend to U.S. pressure.

He said Thursday that Iran was prepared to transfer nuclear know-how to Islamic countries.

Meanwhile, ministers from Britain, France and Germany, which have negotiated with Iran, met with Iran's new foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, and its chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, Miami Herald reported.

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