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28 Apr, 2009 05:00

Washington forum sees US and Russia put differences aside

The World Russian Forum of business leaders meeting in the United States says the new open door policy is good for companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

The two-day World Russian Forum is heating up Capitol Hill amidst sweltering heat in Washington DC, giving the relationship between Moscow and Washington a new unofficial boost.

Political leaders, businessmen, and experts are pushing as hard as they can for the reset button to work. Nuclear arms reduction and the global economic crisis have been dominating discussions, and from energy to terrorism, nothing is being left untouched.

Even critics like Igor Panarin said the countries can depend on each other – but perhaps one more than the other.

“I cannot rule out that the US may collapse in 2010,” esteems Panarin.

“It is experiencing big economic problems, Wall Street has collapsed, unemployment is soaring and separatist moods are rising. The US needs Russia. I would say strengthening ties with Russia could save the US from collapse.”

However, this event is not about any one country having control.

As the forum continues, it now seems inevitable that this is just one of many negotiations still to come. The hands reached across both sides of the table, agreeing to put differences aside and focus on what Russia and the US can achieve together.

Even tough issues such as Iran and US plans for missile defense systems are being put on the backburner.

Former US ambassador to Russia Thomas Pickering does not see them as obstacles:

“I think that they’re opportunities. In some ways we’ve had difficulties in the past so we need to be conscious of that. They won’t go away very easily, but at the same time, I think there are openings.”

The doors have now been opened by presidents Obama and Medvedev for a healthy relationship.

Participants in the World Russian Forum are trying to jump right in, before anything might close those doors again.