The first ever eye-to-eye meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama has shown there are signs of thawing in Russia-US relations, and that the two states are ready to push the reset button.
The leaders have agreed to immediately start work on a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in order to sign it by the end the year.
It would replace the 1991 treaty, which resulted in the biggest ever bilateral cuts in nuclear weapons, but that treaty is due to expire on December 5, 2009.
The meeting between the Russian and American presidents took place on the eve of the G20 summit in London and was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated bilateral talks.
After the 90-minute-long meeting the presidents made a joint statement in which they said that they were ready to move beyond the Cold War mentality and take the relations between the two countries to a new level.
Dmitry Medvedev said:
“Today we have discussed almost all the issues important to us, including the non-proliferation on nuclear weapons, reducing strategic arms, cooperation in counter-terrorism and restoring global financial stability. This is just the beginning of our talks, but we understand we have much more in common than that which separates us. I agree with President Obama that our teams did a good job in a number of declarations and unshaping the general frameworks of our relations.”
The US said both sides should speed up work to make sure that Russia joins the World Trade Organization as soon as possible. This can be seen as a very positive sign for the Kremlin, as Moscow has been trying to negotiate the terms of entry to the WTO since the early 1990s.
The Russian and American presidents have agreed their next meeting will take place in July in Moscow.
“I’ll be very glad to see Mr. Obama in Moscow this July. July is the warmest month in Russia, and I hope our talks will be warm too,” Medvedev said.