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Russia wants 'strategic partnership' with US: Medvedev

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 15, 2008
Russia has a "strategic partnership" with China and wants to have the same with the United States, hopefully with president-elect Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday.

Speaking at a public forum in Washington, Medvedev described Russia's relations with China as a "strategic partnership" that is "a very good, full-fledged, friendly exchange."

"Of course I want to have the same kind of relations with the United States," he said in Russian, according to a translator.

The event, hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, followed a financial crisis summit of the leaders of the Group of 20 major industrialized and emerging economies, which Medvedev attended.

Medvedev said he would meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao immediately after the public forum.

The Russian president noted the two countries' strong economic ties, evidenced by bilateral trade of approximately 50 billion dollar this year.

The Russian leader expressed hope that his US counterpart-to-be Obama will take steps to warm up strained relations between the Kremlin and Washington.

He said he was optimistic that the Democrat, who succeeds Republican President George W. Bush in office on January 20, will be a willing partner in getting bilateral relations back on track.

"We welcome the election of Barack Obama," he said.

"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 election victory on November 4, amid a searing bilateral row over US plans to base parts of a missile shield in eastern Europe and strains over Russia's invasion of US ally Georgia.

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.

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 president-elect Obama soon and begin mending relations.

"We have a great opportunity to restore relations to the fullest extent," he said.

Discussions on points 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."

Albright, who served under Bill Clinton's Democratic administration as the first female secretary of state in 1997-2001, said: "I think we all consider the relationship between Russia and the US as a ...relationship where friendship and understanding is absolutely essential."

"In months to come, observers in Europe and across the world will be looking to see how well President Obama and President Medvedev are able to agree on policies that preserve the interests of each country without imposing on the rights of others and without stirring further speculation about how this relationship, this essential and important relationship, will evolve."

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Outside View: Euro-Russian relations thaw
Moscow (UPI) Nov 13, 2008
The European Union has decided to end the diplomatic pause in relations with Moscow, which began after the Georgian-Russian conflict in August.

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