Medvedev-Obama dialogue continues in Italy

Dmitry Medvedev has said that he continued the dialogue with Barack Obama during the G8 summit in Italy. The Russian president spoke to the international media after the meeting in the Italian city of L’Aquila.

“We continued communication and returned to the issues which we discussed in Moscow,” he said.

Watch Medvedev's news conference here

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Medvedev pointed out that the Moscow talks were an important step in raising the temperature in Russian–US relations. However, he couldn’t help but mention that the countries still have different positions on the missile defense issue.

Despite citing the big progress made during Moscow talks, the Russian president maintained that Russia is still ready to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the US does not drop its plan for a missile shield in Eastern Europe.

In addition, the Russian president has backed Barack Obama's proposal to hold a summit on nuclear non-proliferation.

“I believe this is a good idea, I supported him and said we would stand ready to take part in it,” the Russian leader said.

Medvedev insisted that diplomacy should be the sole way of tackling the issues stemming from the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

“We take the line that problems of this kind must be dealt with by political and diplomatic means and by following fundamental principles of international law and resolutions on these issues,” Medvedev said.

Following the summit both Russian and American presidents noted that old international, political, and financial institutions should be reformed.

“There is no doubt that we have to update and refresh and renew the international institutions that were set up in a different time and place,” Barack Obama said. “Some like the United Nations, date back to post World War II. Others, like the G8 are thirty years old. There is no sense that those institutions can adequately capture the enormous changes that have taken place.”

Economic and food crises in the spotlight

Among the host of issues discussed at the summit, joint measures to tackle the global economic crisis dominated the talks.

“Everybody pointed out some optimistic signs in the restoration of the world economy,” Medvedev continued. “But everybody agrees that we can't relax. It’s still not clear if we have rocked the bottom and how the crisis will further evolve.”

The Russian leader has also announced that Russia “is ready to make its contribution to ensuring global food security,” adding that the country accounts for one tenth of the world’s arable land.

He said that if everything goes well with the Russian agricultural sector, in five to ten years Russia will be able to deliver “up to 50 million tons of grain on the market annually.”

On their final day together, the G8 leaders unveiled a major plan to help poor countries out of starvation. They pledged $20 billion to improve farming methods in developing nations, which is $5 billion more than had been expected.

African leaders welcomed the announcement, but aid groups criticized the rich nations for failing to deliver on their past promises.

Russia’s contribution to climate control

Finance was not the only issue the sides discussed. Special attention has been given to climate change and climate control.

President Medvedev noted that Russia is ready to contribute to the global goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. He said that by 2020 Russia will try to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 10-15%, and that is not the limit.

“We are ready to make our contribution – at least 50% by 2050, in comparison with 1990,” Medvedev told journalists.

On Wednesday, G8 countries adopted a statement in which they agreed that rich nations would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, with global cuts to reach at least 50% by the same date.