Bush wants successor to make friends with Russia’s next leader

February 29th, 2008 - 4:06 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Washington, Feb 29 (RIA Novosti) US President George W. Bush has advised his successor to develop friendly relationship with the next Russian president. “US-Russia relations are important. It’s important for stability, it’s important for our relations in Europe,” Bush said at a news conference Friday.

“Therefore, my advice is to establish a personal relationship with whoever is in charge of foreign policy in Russia,” he said.

Russia goes to polls to elect a successor to President Vladimir Putin Saturday. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was publicly backed by Putin in mid-December, is a clear front-runner.

Putin, who is not allowed to stand for a third term under the Russian constitution, is expected to become the country’ prime minister if Medvedev wins.

“I want to try to leave it so: whoever my successor is will be able to have a relationship with whoever is running foreign policy in Russia. It’s in the country’s interest,” Bush said.

“There are areas where we (US and Russia) need to cooperate,” Bush said.

The US president, who is nearing the end of his presidential term with elections due in November, admitted that he had disagreed with Putin in the past.

“As you know, Putin’s a straightforward, pretty tough character when it comes to his interests, well, so am I,” Bush said.

Bush said their relations remained “cordial” enabling them to “deal with common threats and opportunities, and that’s going to be important for the next president to maintain.”

Speaking on the US missile shield plans in the Czech Republic and Poland, which has become another irritant in Russia-US relations, Bush said: “I believe it’s in our interests to try to figure out a way for the Russians to understand the system is not aimed at them, but aimed at the real threats of the 21st century.”
RIA Novosti

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