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U.S., RUSSIA MEET FOR TALKS ON PARTNERSHIP

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America's vice president and Russia's prime minister began their two days of talks with hands clasped in front of an enduring symbol of cooperation - a replica of the ships that linked the two nations in space.

"After years of competition in space, we have found a common destiny in cooperation and partnership," Vice President Al Gore told Viktor Chernomyrdin Tuesday night.The Chernomyrdin-Gore meetings were advancing the goal, established by a U.S.-Russia commission 14 months ago, to explore opportunities for cooperation in space as well as trade, energy, investment and other areas.

Chernomyrdin is setting the stage with Gore for a summit meeting in early fall between President Clinton and Yeltsin.

Gore entertained Chernomyrdin Tuesday night at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum where a spectacular new large screen movie, "Destiny in Space" was being premiered.

Before the movie, the two leaders shook hands in front of the Apollo-Soyuz replica, which commemorates the actual "handshake in space" flight in 1975.