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Obama, Medvedev Discuss START, NATO Summit, Afghanistan

President Barack Obama meets with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Yokohama,  Japan, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010.
President Barack Obama meets with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Sunday to discuss the nuclear arms reduction treaty, the upcoming NATO summit and other topics.

Mr. Obama reiterated his determination to finalize the new START treaty that would reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles by as much as one third.  

He said he has communicated to Congress that ratifying the START agreement is a "top priority" of his administration.

The two presidents signed the START treaty in April, but it has yet to be ratified by either country's legislature.

On another issue, Mr. Medvedev said the two sides made "serious progress" on Moscow's interest in joining the World Trade Organization.

The talks also focused on the upcoming NATO summit in Lisbon aimed at improving Russia's relations with the alliance, the global economy, the situation in Afghanistan, and sanctions against Iran.

Mr. Obama's national security adviser, Tom Donilon, discussed the arms-control issue with reporters ahead of Sunday's meeting.  But he did not comment on U.S. media reports that said the Obama administration will try to win congressional support for the treaty by upgrading nuclear-weapons facilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow hopes the U.S. Senate will ratify the new START treaty by the end of this year.  

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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