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Medvedev upbeat on Obama summit

Dmitry Medvedev (Kremlin website)
President Dmitry Medvedev struck a positive tone in his video blog

Russia's president says he is hopeful of finding new ways to co-operate with the US during the visit of President Barack Obama to Moscow next week.

Dmitry Medvedev said the new US administration had demonstrated "its willingness to change the situation" and build more "modern" relationships.

"We are ready to play our part," he said in a video posted on his website.

The agenda at next week's summit in the Russian capital is expected to include the issue of reducing nuclear weapons.

'Special responsibility'

President Medvedev struck an upbeat tone in the video blog on Thursday, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow.

Today, we are united by the values of our civilisation, the values of respect for human life and human rights and freedoms
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

"The new administration headed by President Obama is showing its willingness to change the situation and build more effective, reliable and ultimately more modern relations," he said.

"We are ready to play our part."

The Russian leader said his country and the US both had a "special responsibility" to fight international terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Mr Medvedev then recalled that even during the Cuban missile crisis in 1961, when the US and Soviet Union came close to war, they had "managed to take difficult, complex and responsible decisions, and came through this difficult moment".

"Today, we are united by the values of our civilisation, the values of respect for human life and human rights and freedoms," he added.

Our correspondent says Washington has already called for a "resetting" of relations after they plummeted last summer to their worst level since the Cold War.

So there are high expectations of next week's summit, which will mark President Obama's first visit to Moscow since taking office, he adds.

One of the major topics on the agenda on Monday is expected to be negotiations on a new agreement to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start I) of 1991, which expires on 5 December.

Both leaders have said they want further deep cuts in their nuclear arsenals.

However, our correspondent says, there are many obstacles to overcome before a new agreement can be signed - not least Moscow's opposition to US plans to install parts of a missile defence system in Eastern Europe.



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