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Medvedev Upbeat on Ties With U.S.

Published: March 24, 2009 (Issue # 1459)


MOSCOW Some of the biggest names in U.S. diplomacy of the past decades met with President Dmitry Medvedev and other Kremlin leaders Friday in an effort to improve frosty relations that experts say could threaten many U.S. foreign policy goals.

In some of his most upbeat comments about U.S. relations since President Barack Obama took office, Medvedev said his meetings with current and former U.S. officials in recent weeks reflect the goal of our nations to significantly improve ties.

After greeting a delegation led by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Medvedev praised the U.S. initiative, first announced by Vice President Joe Biden, to press the reset button on U.S.-Russia relations.

The surprising term reset ... really reflects the essence of the changes we would like to see, Medvedev said. We are counting on a reset. I hope it will take place.

Kissinger, an architect of U.S. Cold War strategy toward the Soviet Union, said he and a group including former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Senator Sam Nunn had discussed energy and other strategic issues with Medvedev. Im happy to report that the differences were not so remarkable and the agreements were considerable, Kissinger said.

Kissinger also told Medvedev that the U.S. group hoped that his April meeting with Obama on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting in London would help improve ties. We believe in the generally optimistic attitude, and we hope ... that the meeting between you and our president will begin a new period in our relationship and will lead to concrete results, Kissinger said.

Kissinger also met privately with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday, in a meeting shown briefly on state-run television.

Experts say chilly bilateral relations have complicated efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, ease tensions in Eastern Europe and expand the war in Afghanistan. Kissingers group has pushed for drastic reductions in global nuclear arsenals. And reviving talks on limits to nuclear arms, especially START I, which expires in December, is at the top of the U.S. agenda.

But the broader aim appears to be repairing the damage to relations over the past eight years between Washington and Moscow, which are at their lowest point since the early 1980s a point highlighted by both Russian and U.S. officials in Moscow.

I see we are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe, Nunn told reporters at a briefing attended by the other Americans as well as Russian officials former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

We are certain that the low point of this period of chill in our relations is behind us, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters Friday. The reset ... has really begun.

While the Kremlin has welcomed the U.S. initiatives, it has also sent signals that it is up to Washington to make concessions, not Moscow, if relations are to improve.

Ryabkov expressed confidence that Moscow and Washington can resolve deep differences over the proposed U.S. missile defense facilities in Central Europe and forge a new treaty to replace START.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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