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White House Expects Continuity From Medvedev

The Bush Administration says it expects to have good relations with the new Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, the United States wants Russia to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Georgia.

U.S. National Security Advisor Steve Hadley says President Bush expects to have a good working relationship with President Medvedev and will talk about areas of common interest.

Hadley says Mr. Bush will also speak very plainly with the new Russian leader about areas where they disagree, including Russia's growing support for the breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia.

"We expect continuity in Russian foreign policy," he said. That means there will be areas where we agree, and there will be areas where we disagree. And obviously we are very concerned with what Russia is doing in Georgia and a series of actions which we have labeled and said are provocative. And we think Russia need to back down from those items."

Russia is increasing its military presence along the border separating Georgia and Abkhazia and has withdrawn from a sanctions regime imposed on the breakaway province by former Soviet republics.

White House officials say Russia is increasing tensions between Georgia and the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Moscow denies Georgian allegations that Russia shot down an unmanned Georgian spy plane over Georgian air space last month.

Georgia is just one of the issues on a US/Russia agenda that includes Israeli/Palestinian peace talks, a missile defense system in Europe, and nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Medvedev met last month in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. White House officials say their first meeting as heads of state should come at the G8 summit in Japan in July.