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Obama, Medvedev hit ‘restart button’ at first meeting

Latest update : 2009-04-01

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed a new arms deal on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Wednesday. The new agreement would cut nuclear warheads below levels agreed in 2002.

Reuters - Russia and the United States will pursue an arms deal cutting nuclear warheads below levels agreed in 2002, presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama said on Wednesday in their first step towards mending relations.

They said in a joint statement they had ordered negotiators to report first results in July.

The pair agreed to work together on Afghanistan, urged Iran to restore confidence in the peaceful nature of its atomic programme, and expressed concern about an upcoming North Korean rocket launch.

They also acknowledged lingering differences over last year's Russia-Georgia war and over U.S. proposals to base parts of a missile shield in Eastern Europe, something Moscow considers a threat to its security.

Those disagreements pushed relations to a post-Cold War low last year, but the two countries have since vowed to "press the reset button" on ties.

The proposed arms deal would go beyond the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which committed both sides to cutting arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by 2012.

Date created : 2009-04-01