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Russia Welcomes US Proposal to Ease Bilateral Tension


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov is calling U.S. desires to improve ties with Moscow "very positive."

Mr. Ivanov spoke Sunday before his talks with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at a security conference in Munich, Germany.

Mr. Biden told the conference Saturday that it is time to repair what he said has been a "dangerous drift" in U.S.-Russian relations.

Russian-U.S. ties have cooled in recent years as NATO expanded eastward and because of U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Europe.

The United States condemned Russia's invasion of Georgia last year and its recognition of the independence of two breakaway republics in Georgia.

Mr. Biden also met in Munich Sunday with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. When he was asked if he backed Georgia's possible NATO membership, Mr. Biden would only say that is Georgia's decision to make.

Vice President Biden said Saturday the Obama administration will emphasize diplomacy, democracy, and development over military force. But he said Washington will not hesitate to use force when necessary.

He also said the United States will continue to develop missile defense to counter a growing Iranian capability. But he said Washington will do so in consultation with its NATO allies and Russia.

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