Russian president hopes Obama's election will warm relations
President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia expressed hope Saturday that President-elect Barack Obama's election would improve relations between the United States and Russia that have worsened under President Bush, but remained unwavering on the issues that have the divided the countries in recent years, reported the New York Times.
Medvedev, who was in Washington for the first time since his election last spring, reiterated Russia's opposition to the expansion of NATO and vowed that Russia would not reverse its recognition of the separatist regions in Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, after the war there in August.
He also repeated his threat, first made the day after Obama was elected, to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad if the United States moved ahead with plans to build missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. However, he said he was prepared to hold talks on the issue.
‚ÄúThere is no trust in the Russia-U.S. relations, the trust we need,‚Ä? Medvedev said, speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington after participating in the summit meeting on the financial crisis Saturday, bringing together the leaders of 20 countries. ‚ÄúTherefore we have great aspirations for the new administration.‚Ä?
Obama has suggested he would deploy only a proven system rather than proceeding with the construction of radars and other facilities while testing continues, but reversing the program which has been negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic, both NATO allies, could be seen as backing down in the face of Russian threats.
Medvedev‚Äôs state of the nation address on Nov. 5 was widely viewed as defiant and sharply anti-American. He criticized the United States for dragging down the global economy and linked it to what the Kremlin views as anti-Russian hostility in all matters of international affairs.
Medvedev expressed hope that he and Obama would meet soon after his inauguration.