Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Surprise -- U.S. and Russia discuss peaceful cooperation

Finally, signs of civility in the relationship between the United States and Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed Wednesday to press for a new nuclear disarmament agreement and to try to get along in solving pressing world issues. The leaders' joint statement said they expect some results by July, when Obama is scheduled to visit Moscow, according to the Reuters international news service. "In the past years, there were strains in relations between our two countries and they were drifting in the wrong direction," Medvedev said to reporters at the G20 economic summit in London. "This was not in the interests of the United States, Russia or global stability. We agreed to open a new page in these relations, to reset them, given the joint responsibilities of our states for the situation in the world." Obama promised "constructive dialog" with Medvedev on counter-terrorism and economic stability, in addition to nuclear proliferation. "The new agreement will mutually enhance the security of the parties and predictability and stability in strategic offensive forces," they said in a joint statement. "We are ready to move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in relations between our two countries." Relations between the nuclear superpowers have been damaged the past few years by differences over Russia's war with neighboring Georgia and a U.S. plan to build a nuclear shield in Eastern Europe. Obama and Medvedev also agreed to work together on the future of Afghanistan, relations with Iran and dealing with North Korea's planned rocket launch.

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