US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has said that in its military operation in Afghanistan the United States is fighting not Islam but terrorism. She said this in an interview with Qatar's Al-Jazeera television channel. Rice, as this correspondent reports, set forth Washington's position on Middle East settlement and presented a case for the operation against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and against the terrorist Al-Qaeda network it is sheltering. Most of the 16-minute interview was devoted to the US administration's Middle East policy. The national security advisers said that the White House has no reason to revise it, since "it meets the interests of the Middle East in general - the peoples of both Arab states and of Israel". Rice, however, spoke once more of the administration's support for plans to set up a Palestinian state, support first voiced by President Bush only after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign