Medvedev upbeat on Russia-US relations

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev believes there’s a good chance to fully restore relations with the US under Barack Obama. He made the comment at a meeting of the US Council on Foreign Relations, which was held separately from the G20 meeting in Washingt

At the summit the leaders of the world's twenty richest economies agreed to modernise their financial structures to avert further global«>here.

The US Council on Foreign Relations is a non-partisan organisation, which aims to promote understanding of American foreign policy. The session was chaired by former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright.

Medvedev praised the summit as a step towards reshaping the world financial system. The group will meet again before the end of April. They have signed a declaration pledging to restore growth and tighten banking regulations.

During his speech Medvedev also touched upon Russia's relations with NATO as well as the Caucasus conflict. He said he thinks the meeting with US president-elect, Barack Obama, should take place without delay.

“I think we have a good chance to fully restore relations. It does not matter what we start with. There is the issue of missile defence elements in Europe. The main thing is that this meets takes place swiftly, without delays and preconditions. I think that the new US president has such readiness. I also have this readiness,” said Medvedev.

He also pointed out that there are things the two presidents are expected to tackle.

“These are the issues of ensuring global security, because Russia and the United States bear particular responsibility for maintaining international security,” he said.

The second issue, according to Medvedev, is global economic security:

“The US is a large economy, which is in a very difficult situation today. The Russian economy is smaller, but it has also become global, and it is influenced by the crisis as well,” he said, noting that this is the issue that the Russian and US leaders need not only to discuss, but on which they have to make necessary decisions».

“In general I am a moderate optimist in our relations with the US,” the Russian leader said.

Experts’ view

Speaking to RT, Jonathan Tucker, Senior Researcher for the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, said Medvedev’s remarks were ‘extremely positive’.

“He reached out to the new administration. He said he was eager to improve American-Russian relations. Of course, it’s a two-way street. It depends on how the new administration responds, but I think he made a first step of friendship in saying that Russia would like to improve relations with the US.”

Tucker noted that a number of problems have accumulated with the current administration, but he says Medvedev sounds optimistic. He had opened the possibility of significant improvement in relations under President Obama.

Tom Brokaw, veteran broadcaster and a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, agreed with the chairman of the meeting:

“I think Madeleine Albright said exactly the right thing at the end: two young men, two countries facing common problems now, economically and socially. And we are to be thinking much less about weapon systems and much more about improving lives.”

Daniel Yergin, co-founder and chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy research consultancy, believes that Medvedev’s remarks helped him establish the foundation now for dialogue with the new US administration.

“I think the basis between President Obama and President Medvedev is very strong because they are generationally the same. Also it’s striking that they both have this very same measured calm approach to issues. We have to get started, and I think with these two new presidents we have the basis to get started.”