Fri, Jul 03, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Medvedev urges US to set aside differences

WARMING UP: While both sides promise to show goodwill at a summit next week, the US’ plan to build an anti-missile system in Europe could cause stumbling blocks

REUTERS , MOSCOW

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday that Washington and Moscow must set aside the power politics of the past and use a forthcoming summit to unite in tackling global economic and political problems.

US President Barack Obama’s first visit to Moscow next week is expected to demonstrate the fruits of his and Medvedev’s attempts to “reset” thorny relations, which reached post-Cold War lows under the previous US administration.

At their first brief meeting in London on April 1, Medvedev and Obama committed themselves to cooperating on further nuclear arms cuts and on solving the conflict in Afghanistan where a US-led international force is fighting the resurgent Taliban.

“The new US administration headed by President Obama is now demonstrating readiness to change the situation, and build more effective ... relations,” Medvedev said in a video blog entry posted on his Kremlin Web site.

“We are ready for this,” he said.

The two leaders are expected to pin down the outline of a new arms control treaty, due to replace the START-1 pact expiring in December, and to finalize arrangements for the transit of lethal NATO supplies to Afghanistan through Russia.

“We must improve our relations to solve multiple global problems through joint efforts,” he added.

But analysts say that despite goodwill from both sides, the “resetting” of relations is unlikely to be an easy process, with both sides having their own priorities and goals. Hurdles, amplified by persistent mutual distrust, could overshadow work on a priority project like the new arms cuts pact.

Medvedev said last month that Russia is ready for big cuts in strategic weapons if Washington reverses its plans to create a national anti-missile system and deploy parts of it in eastern Europe.

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