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Medvedev bullish on Obama presidency

Video by Marian HENBEST

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-12-09

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed steely optimism about relations between Moscow and Washington under the administration of US President-elect Barack Obama, offering compromise over the US missile shield plan in Eastern Europe.


  
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev expressed hope Saturday that his US counterpart-to-be Barack Obama will take steps to warm up strained relations between the Kremlin and Washington.
  
"We welcome the election of Barack Obama," Medvedev said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, following his participation in a Group of 20 summit on the financial crisis.
  
"We believe he will act to overcome problems that have accumulated recently in our relations," he said in Russian, according to the translator.
  
The comments add to the statements -- some hot and others cold -- that have emerged from the Kremlin since Obama's historic election victory on November 4, amid a searing bilateral row over US plans to base parts of a missile shield in eastern Europe.
  
The statement carried weight in particular because it was made in the presence of Madeleine Albright, a former secretary of state and president-elect Obama's special emissary at Saturday's crisis summit in Washington featuring the leaders of the Group of 20 major industrialized and emerging economies.
  
Medvedev said Russian-US relations were "extremely extensive, rich and rather complex" but that they have become strained.
  
"I can admit that recently we've experienced a crisis of confidence," the Russian president said, referring to ties between the Kremlin and Washington.
  
"There is no trust in Russian-US relations, the trust we need," he said.
  
Medvedev said he hoped to meet with Obama soon and begin mending relations.
  
"We have a great opportunity to restore relations to the fullest extent," he said.
  
Discussions of sources of friction could start with missile defense in Europe, he said, or "we can start with something else."
  
The meeting with Obama "should take place soon," he added.
  
"I believe the president-elect has that willingness and I share this willingness."

Date created : 2008-11-16

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