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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kissinger Brings Bush's Best

APPutin welcoming former U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger to the Kremlin on Saturday.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger brought the Kremlin best wishes from the White House on Saturday, a week after current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Russia on "the basics of democracy."

"I'm here for the purpose of strengthening the ties between our leaders and our countries," Kissinger, an architect of the Cold War policy of detente toward the Soviet Union, told President Vladimir Putin.

"I'm a good friend of President [George W.] Bush and a strong supporter of his foreign policy. I know what a good opinion he has of you," said Kissinger, 81, adding that he was visiting in a personal capacity.

"We have friends in common," Putin replied.

Putin forged a strong personal bond with Bush after quickly throwing his weight behind the war on terror, but said in December that at their next meeting he would challenge the U.S. president on whether Washington was trying to isolate Russia.

Rice, a former Soviet specialist making her first trip to Europe as secretary of state, denied there was a policy of isolation, but said Russia needed to show more commitment to the rule of law, an independent judiciary and a free press.

She did not include Russia on her itinerary.

Kissinger, the U.S. foreign policy chief under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, did not elaborate on the purpose of his two-day visit to Russia, a country which he said was "very important for the future of the world."

Bush and Putin are to meet at a summit in Slovakia on Feb. 24.