U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell hopes to meet President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Moscow on Monday, December 10, Alexander Vershbow, U.S. ambassador to Moscow, informed RIA Novosti. Colin Powell will pay a visit December 9-10. Deputy head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Prikhodko informed RIA Novosti that the Russian president's schedule of international contacts for 2001 includes the meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State. It is slated for Monday, December 10, Prikhodko said. Alexander Vershbow noted that on the same day Colin Powell will hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. The ambassador reminded that this would be the third meeting between the heads of the two countries' foreign-policy departments over the past week. Moreover, the U.S. Secretary of State will meet with deputies of the State Duma (lower parliamentary house) to be held on the premises of the U.S. embassy. Alexander Vershbow did not rule out that Colin Powell might meet representatives of U.S. business circles in Moscow. The main topic to be discussed in the course of meetings with Russian leadership will be prospects of further settlement of the situation in Afghanistan, specifically, "with regard to a success reached at the inter-Afghan conference in Bonne on forming the interim government of Afghanistan," the ambassador noted. The sides will continue their dialogue on strategic stability, fulfilment of agreements on reduction of strategic offensive weapons and their non-proliferation. "We need to go further on all these issues," Vershbow said, emphasising the necessity of "smooth transition" in their settlement. No documents are expected to be signed in the course of Colin Powell's visit to Moscow, Vershbow said.
U.S. Justice Department is acting behind the scenes to have Assange extradicted from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and prosecuted in the U.S.