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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Asks Russia to Start Talks

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott urged Russia on Friday to turn from military force to dialogue in the breakaway republic of Chechnya and avoid civilian casualties.

Talbott, in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, said he had conveyed President Bill Clinton's "concern about the situation in Chechnya."

"We understand that Russia has come up against a very dangerous threat of extremism and terrorism," giving Russia the "right and duty to protect the state and its citizens," Talbott said, Russian press reported.

At the same time, he added, the United States hopes that Russia will "turn to political levers as soon as possible'' and "find a way to minimize civilian casualties."

Talbott and Ivanov also discussed mediating a solution to the conflict over Nagorny Karabakh. The U.S. envoy has traveled to former Soviet republics to discuss the conflict, which has all but frozen relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Ivanov said before meeting Talbott that Russia and the United States wanted to use a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to make progress on resolving the conflict.