Obama: U.S–Russia Dialogue Productive, Will Continue

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)

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