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Obama Praises Russian Help on Nuclear Issues Ahead of Summit


U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Russia for its cooperation in trying to persuade North Korea and Iran to abandon their nuclear development programs, and said he is not reconciled to a nuclear-armed Iran.

Mr. Obama's spoke Thursday in Washington to the Associated Press, just days ahead of a U.S.-Russian summit in Moscow. The two-day talks are aimed at reaching agreement on a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The current agreement expires in December.

Earlier Thursday in Moscow, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said he is hopeful next week's summit will help find new avenues for bilateral cooperation.

In a video posted on the Kremlin Web site, Mr. Medvedev said President Obama seems willing to build more effective relations, and that Russia is ready to play its part.

Mr. Obama said he also will meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who still has sway in Russia. He said he wants Mr. Putin to know that old Cold War approaches to U.S.-Russian relations are outdated.

Mr. Obama leaves for Moscow Sunday.

The two presidents also are also expected to discuss plans to transport supplies across Russia to NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama met with President Medvedev earlier this year in London, where they vowed to reach agreement on a new arms reduction treaty. They spoke on the telephone earlier this week to discuss key issues expected to arise at the summit.

In his video address, Mr. Medvedev noted worsening relations with Washington in recent years. He cited a "crisis of confidence, lack of action" and "an unwillingness to take any new steps." But he said the Obama administration has demonstrated a willingness to change the situation, and said Russia and the United States are, in his words, "united by the values of our civilization."

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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