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10 May, 2009 05:16

Mrs. Clinton “thinking forward not backward” together with Russia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday May, 8. Both sides are for reducing nuclear warheads, but sore issues of NATO and missile defense stand in the way.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would like to push a different kind of button in the relations with Russia as she continues her meetings with Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

“I have a great deal of respect and regard for my counterpart in Russia and for the Russian people, and for the kind of contribution that we can make together if we keep working with each other and we think forward, not backward. And that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Hillary Clinton.

And on top of the “to-do” list is cutting down on nukes.

“We have a lot to do in the field of nuclear nonproliferation. This is a field which is one of the most successful areas of our cooperation,” said Sergey Lavrov.

Hilary Clinton said that the two super-powers are doing their best to make the world safer.

“If you look at what we’re doing on START and nonproliferation, that has to do with the future safety of the world, and the United States and Russia bear a special responsibility. So we are working very hard together,” said Clinton.

“I can only add that the task of further reductions of strategic offensive weapons is too important, both for Russia and the United States, and for the entire world, in fact, to make it hostage of any particular regime anywhere around the globe,” added Sergey Lavrov.

And other tasks include addressing anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe. Russia strongly opposes the U.S. depolying ABMs in Poland and the Czech Republic, so they came up with their own idea: use the Gabala and Armavir stations instead. And that proposal led U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller to recently drop her own bombshell:

“At the time I lived in Moscow when I was a director of Carnegie Moscow, I thought that the offer was very interesting. And I think it deserved further exploration. I understood from talking to Russian counterparts that the offer is still on the table. I think, personally, that is an offer that the United States should be willing to explore,” said Gottemoeller in the interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency.

The future of that missile defense shield is a cause of concern to both the U.S. and Russia, but experts say there is no need to fret just yet.

“Now President Obama is looking at the technical effect in this, and realizing that the systems just aren’t ready. He’s looking at the cost and realizing that this is very expensive at a time when we are having budget cuts, and he’s looking at a realistic assessment of the Iranian program which is still years away to any kind of serious threat to Europe or the United States,” says Joseph Cirincione, the President of Ploughshares Fund.

In a world of nuclear weaponry, anti-balistic missiles, and political strife it becomes crucial for these two nations to cooperate because if Russia and the United States do not find common ground, the rest of the world might feel the earth shake. And reconsidering policies from the past may create better relations in the future.