President-elect Dmitri Medvedev of Russia appeared to set a positive tone for negotiations with the Bush administration over the siting of an antimissile system in eastern Europe. Meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Gates, he predicted the talks would be "intense," but added: "We need to provide for continuity in the Russian-US relationship [and] we have all the requisite tools to do this." Russian news outlets quoted outgoing President Vladimir Putin, who also met with Rice and Gates, as saying "final agreement" had been reached between the two sides on some of their differences.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany is to address Israel's parliament Tuesday, making her the first foreign head of government to do so. Only heads of state or monarchs have been extended such an invitation previously. Visiting the Jewish state on its 60th anniversary, Merkel (above, l., sitting in on a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem), declined to comment on newly announced Israeli plans to expand Jewish home-building in Arab sections of the capital despite Palestinian objections and international criticism.