Medvedev to meet Obama soon after his inauguration

December 18th, 2008 - 11:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaMoscow, Dec 18 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet Barack Obama in Washington shortly after the US president-elect is inaugurated Jan 20, Russia’s foreign minister said Thursday. The Russian president and Obama have agreed in a telephonic conversation early this month to “arrange a top-level meeting soon after President Obama’s inauguration”, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with US Senator Richard Lugar here Thursday.

He also added that Moscow was ready to discuss issues on which the two sides had differences in a frank and open manner.

“Russia is prepared for that and we hope that the new administration in Washington will also be ready to discuss any issue on the basis of mutual respect,” Lavrov said.

Russia-U.S. relations have been frayed by Washington’s plans to deploy elements of a missile shield to Central Europe, Russia’s five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August, and NATO’s eastward expansion.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently said he expected Russia’s relations with the US to improve after Obama takes office in January. His words were echoed by Medvedev.

Obama said earlier this month that he wanted to “reset” relations between Washington and an “increasingly assertive” Moscow. “They’re increasingly assertive. And when it comes to Georgia and their threats against their neighboring countries, I think they have been acting in a way that is contrary to international norms,” Obama said in a TV interview earlier this month.

“We want to cooperate with them where we can, and there are a whole host of areas particularly around nonproliferation of weapons and terrorism where we can cooperate, but we also have to send a clear message that they have to act in ways that are not bullying their neighbors,” Obama said.

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