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Putin praises Bush hospitality during Obama visit


U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, July 7, 2009.

Putin praises Bush hospitality during Obama visit

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin praised the hospitality and openness of U.S. former President George W. Bush in a telegramme sent hours before meeting his successor Barack Obama.

“During the last years we have been working on strengthening Russia-U.S. cooperation. Although there were differences between our countries, I always valued your openness and sincerity,” Putin said, congratulating Bush on his 63rd birthday on July 6.

“With special warmth I recall your hospitality in the Crawford ranch and your family estate in Kennebunkport,” Putin wrote, referring to their 2007 meeting at the Bush family vacation home when the two leaders went fishing and ate lobster.

Bush had said he “was able to get a sense of his soul” when he first met Putin and since then their warm rapport has helped limit the damage from a series of rows that returned ties between their administrations to chilly Cold War lows.

On Tuesday, Putin, who stepped down as president last year but remains the most influential Russian politician, invited Obama for a “Russian-style” breakfast during their first meeting at Putin’s forest residence outside Moscow.

Russian agencies, quoting the government’s press service, said Putin treated Obama to black caviar with sour cream, smoked beluga with pancakes and tea made in the traditional Russian samovar, a big coal-fired kettle.

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CSKA on song against Besiktas in Moscow


CSKA on song against Besiktas in Moscow

MOSCOW (AFP) – CSKA Moscow bounced back from defeat to Wolfsburg to record a 2-1 win over Turkish champions Besiktas in their second Champions League Group B game here on Wednesday.

Midfielders Alan Dzagoev and Milos Krasic scored for the hosts to secure all three points and take them level with group leaders Manchester United and Wolfsburg prior to the leaders’ meeting in Manchester later on Wednesday.

Ismail Koybasi was on target for the guests, who lost their opening game 1-0 at home to United while CSKA were being beaten 3-0 in Wolfsburg.

“We played according to our plan, keeping the Besiktas players under constant pressure, and deservedly won today,” Krasic said.

“We fought hard thoughout the match and were the stronger team.”

Besiktas manager Mustafa Denizli said his team allowed the hosts to score too easily.

“It was an interesting match,” he said. “As a team which is playing in the Champions League, we should not allow two easy goals. We added power to our game later in the match but failed to change the outcome. Now we need to forget this defeat and move on.”

CSKA stunned the visitors by taking the lead inside six minutes when the highly-rated Dzagoev fired a 25-yard screamer into the top left-handed corner past the outstretched hands of Besiktas goalkeeper Rustu Recber.

The visitors, who came into the match with a positive record against Russian teams (two wins and one draw), replied with a shot by Slovak winger Filip Holosko but the Red Army side’s ‘keeper Igor Akinfeyev repelled his attempt.

After the interval Besiktas picked up steam and seized the initiative, pinning the hosts back in an attempt to level and they created a clear opportunity in the 57th minute for Nihat Kahveci but the striker spurned the chance by failing to hit the ball.

CSKA replied with a series of threats and made it 2-0 through Krasic, who fired the ball home under Rustu Recber with a 15-yard angled shot after a piece of good individual work in the 61st minute.

Defender Koybasi netted a consolation in injury time but it was not enough to save the day for Besiktas.

“We needed three points today and played very well,” said CSKA’s new coach Juande Ramos. “Sometimes we dominated the play, sometimes it was even, but we converted our chances into goals and won. I think it was a good match.”

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