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Reset in U.S.-Russian Relations Paying Off, Obama Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2011 – The reset in U.S.-Russian relations is paying off with progress on the security and economic fronts, the U.S. and Russian presidents said in Deauville, France today.

The two men held a bilateral meeting as part of the G-8 meetings. The G-8 brings together the leaders of the world’s most heavily industrialized democracies.

“Over the past two years, I think that we have built an outstanding relationship and, as a consequence, we’ve been able to reset relations between the United States and Russia in a way that is good for the security and the prosperity of both of our countries,” President Barack Obama said during a joint news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama pointed to progress in implementing the New START treaty, cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation and cooperation on counterterrorism. In addition, the two countries are enforcing strong sanctions on Iran, and cooperating on Afghanistan “where Russia has been very helpful in establishing supply lines for our troops there,” the president said.

Medvedev agreed the relationship has become warmer and more productive. Still, the United States and Russia will not agree on every international issue, he said.

“It does not mean that we’ll have common views and coinciding views on all the issues,” the Russian president said through a translator. “Each and every country is sure to have its own national priorities and interests.”

The conversations are about maintaining a strategic balance, “which we have been able to keep this balance in place and after the New START treaty it has improved I think,” he said.

Medvedev said the leaders are working to continue progress on ballistic missile defense and in counterterrorism. The two leaders also discussed economic issues affecting both countries and the path to Russia’s admission into the World Trade Organization.

The Russian and American leaders also discussed the profound changes in the Middle East and North Africa. The two, “shared our ideas about how we can manage the transition process that’s taking place throughout the region in a way that enhances prosperity and opportunity for people there and ensures stability and resolves conflicts in a peaceful way,” Obama said.

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