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Russia Hails First Obama-Medvedev Meeting 


Russia says strategic stability, international security, non-proliferation, and cooperation against emerging threats are among the interests Moscow shares with the United States. The Kremlin is also offering a positive assessment of Wednesday's meeting between Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, which the Russian Foreign Ministry is characterizing as a truly significant event that symbolizes the resetting of U.S.-Russian relations.

Speaking at a Moscow news conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said the first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev, set the basis for practical cooperation between the two countries. Nesterenko also said the meeting fulfilled expectations.

Referring to the joint statement issued by the presidents, Nesterenko reiterated several areas of cooperation, including strategic arms reduction. The spokesman said it is possible for both sides to negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Agreement in the little time remaining before the current one runs out in December.

Nesterenko says if there is persistence, political will, and genuine desire to make a qualitative move away from the level of relations that characterized recent years and away from the standstill that affected the bilateral agenda, then a new treaty is entirely within reach.

Some observers are concerned that complicated technical details, the sheer volume of work and possible legislative hurdles could delay ratification of a new START agreement.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman says Russia is prepared to cooperate with NATO, but rejects new dividing lines in Europe that he says the organization could create, especially if Ukraine and Georgia were to join the organization.

Nesterenko says much will depend on the form and mission that result from NATO's announced transformation process, which is far from complete. He notes that under today's circumstances, the possibility of Russian NATO membership is not a practical question.

Referring to President Obama's new Afghan strategy, spokesman Nesterenko said some points require greater detail, but in general, it is well grounded and thought out.

He says first of all, the strategy emphasizes a stronger regional factor, and a greater variety of approaches that integrate military measures with civil, social and economic efforts.

President Dmitri Medvedev has said Russia is seeking improved cooperation with the United States. He will serve as host when Mr. Obama visits Russia in July.

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