‘Barack Obama could visit Russia in April’

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : US President Barack Obama could pay a visit to Moscow in April, a Russian business daily said Thursday.

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Obama was sworn in Tuesday as the 44th president of the US. He became the country’s first African-American head of state.

According to a source close to the US State Department quoted by Kommersant, Obama will set off for his first European tour in April and is to visit London April 2 to participate in the G20 summit, and meet for the first time with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama will then attend a NATO summit April 3-4 in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany to mark the 60th anniversary of the military alliance.

The source said Obama could fly to Moscow after the summit. The previous US president George Bush flew to Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi after last year’s NATO summit in Bucharest.

He said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was likely to visit Russia in March before Obama’s trip to Moscow. The Russian foreign ministry said the date of Clinton’s visit had not yet been agreed on.

A source in the Russian presidential administration said that no official information on Obama’s possible visit to Moscow had been received.

President Medvedev earlier said he hoped the United States would develop constructive relations with Moscow under Obama.

Russia-US relations have been frayed in recent years by Washington’s plans to deploy elements of a missile shield to Central Europe, Russia’s five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia last August, and NATO’s eastward expansion.