Obama meets Putin in Moscow

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : US President Barack Obama began his first meeting with Vladimir Putin Tuesday morning at the Russian prime minister’s country residence outside Moscow.

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Obama, on his first visit to Russia since becoming president, held extensive talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Monday, resulting in a framework agreement for a new strategic arms reduction treaty.

After exchanging pleasantries, Putin told Obama that Russia is hoping for better relations with the US, following disagreements that arose with the previous administration.

“We link your name with our hopes for the development of Russian-US relations,” he said.

Obama told Putin: “I am aware of the extraordinary work you have done as president in previous years and in your current role as prime minister,” and said the meeting provides an opportunity to “put US-Russian relations on a much stronger basis”.

Putin consistently maintained friendly personal ties with Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, which persisted despite strains in bilateral tries, including over arms control, NATO expansion, and US missile defence plans for Europe.

Putin earlier said Russia is ready for effective cooperation with the new US administration, and that he wanted to hear the US view on tackling the economic crisis, as a large part of Russia’s currency reserves is held in US dollars.

Obama said on Monday that he believed the Medvedev-Putin tandem was working effectively.

“My strong impression is that President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin are working very effectively together and our interest is in working together with the Russian government as a whole in order to achieve the improved bilateral relationship that I think can be accomplished,” he said at a joint news conference after talks with Medvedev.