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South Jersey Congressman Takes Part In Bi-Partisan Talks With Russian Officials

BERLIN, GERMANY (CBS) -- A South Jersey congressman spent the past week in Germany, quietly getting an up close and personal chance to learn about Russia's political system from many of those who run it.

Don Norcross was one of 14 congressional members who participated in a forum sponsored by the Aspen Institute, which calls itself "an educational and policy studies organization" based in Washington.

They got a chance to meet some of their counterparts in Russia's Federal Assembly and selected members of Vladimir Putin's administration.

"What we're getting is a very frank and direct discussion with views from where we see it in Congress, and certainly where the Russians see it from their end," Norcross told KYW Newsradio during a break in those sessions in Berlin. "I'm not suggesting that we are coming to any conclusion that we both agree on, but we're having those discussions and I think that's always important to do."

Those discussions touched on everything from alleged election hacking to global warming to nuclear concerns.

"You don't want to run into a highly charged situation without any lines of communication or relationships," Norcross added. "Whether they're friend or foe, I think it's important that those lines of communication remain open. It literally could save the world."

While nothing was settled, he believes it was a good thing to know where the other side is coming from.

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