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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

Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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