WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2010 — President Barack Obama said yesterday he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shared a productive discussion touching on security and economic issues, and will address Russia-NATO cooperation later this week.
The two leaders met in Yokohama, Japan, during the weekend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference and issued a joint statement there yesterday.
Obama said he is committed to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia and has communicated to Congress “it is a top priority” during the lame-duck session.
The treaty, which Obama and Medvedev signed in April, reduces the deployed nuclear forces of both nations and provides mutual verification measures. The previous treaty expired in December 2009.
The two leaders also discussed this week’s NATO summit in Lisbon, which both will attend, Obama said.
“It allows us to restart the NATO-Russia Council and a host of consultations so that we can reduce tensions and increase cooperation on various security matters in the European theater,” he said.
Obama also thanked Medvedev for his cooperation on Afghanistan.
“There has been excellent transit cooperation in recent months and we think we can build on that in our discussions next week. And on a range of international issues and hotspots from Sudan to the Middle East, we think that Russia has been an excellent partner,” he said.
Medvedev, speaking through a translator, stressed Russia’s interest in joining the World Trade Organization.
“We have seriously moved forward the question of Russia WTO accession,” Medvedev said. “And I perceive this as a tribute to the team in effect in the U.S. of America, which has fulfilled all the agreements reached during my visit to Washington, D.C. And I hope this process will continue and promptly Russia will join WTO.” Medvedev said he and Obama will continue their discussions during the NATO summit.
“We’re discussing a whole range of issues involved, including the so-called European ABM,” Medvedev said. “We have exchanged views as to what could be done here and we have agreed to give instructions to our aides and ministers to pursue this work further. At the summit certainly we’ll discuss this matter, too.”
Russia and the United States, Medvedev said, have been “fruitfully cooperating … even if the situation in the economy of our countries still remains quite difficult.
“I know that my friend Barack Obama has been involved in this [endeavor] 24 hours per day,” the Russian president continued. “I would like to wish him success in this area since the status of a U.S. economy greatly affects the general state of the international economy.”
Medvedev said the two leaders will continue to work “very actively and closely.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)