President George Bush surprised officials by accepting an invitation from President Putin of Russia for an informal meeting in early April to discuss several controversial issues. A source told the Moscow Times, “some members of the(Bush) administration, including those working in the field of interntional affairs, advised Bush not to hurry with an answer and not to accept the invitation” but apparently the president decided to ignore their advice. Bush wants to clarify the relationship between the two nations and deal with issues such as American construction of anti-missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin has also expressd Russian concern over expansion of NATO to include the Ukraine and Georgia.
Meanwhile, Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for president this November, blasted the Russian govenment and urged the Goup of Eight to drop plans to include Russia because of its “nuclear blackmail.” He said: “We should start by ensuring that the G-8..becomes a club of leading market democracies. It should include Bazil and India, but exclude Russia.” He made clear his policy would be to organize NATO to maintain opposition to Russia until there are changes in its government’s attitude toward the West.