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Page last updated at 19:39 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 20:39 UK

Flurry of deals at Moscow-US summit

By Jonathan Marcus,
BBC Diplomatic Correspondent, Moscow

President Obama and President Medvedev
A flurry of papers marked the end of the meetings

By setting low expectations for this summit, the US and Russian presidents have been able to appear to have achieved more than had been hoped.

Indeed, in all fairness, the flurry of documents that has come out of this first day of discussions has been significant.

The joint understanding for the Start (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) follow-on agreement sets out the target limits for warheads and delivery systems - the inter-continental ballistic missiles and bombers that carry them.

President Obama sounded confident that a treaty would be in place by the time the existing Start agreement expires in December.

There is a new framework for military-to-military co-operation.

"Long grass"

There is also an extensive document on joint action related to Afghanistan, not least a transit agreement allowing lethal US military equipment and supplies to travel through Russia on its way to the front line.

The contentious issue of missile defence - where both leaders accepted there were still significant differences - was in effect "kicked into the long grass".

There will be joint studies both on the potential missile threat and the means of addressing it.

That's an elegant delaying tactic achievable because, in reality, the Obama administration has yet to decide how enthusiastic it really is about anti-missile defences.

Most interesting, in some ways, is the creation of a new bilateral presidential commission with a wide-ranging agenda.

This is clearly intended to institutionalise a new, more constructive, relationship.

This is, in many ways, reminiscent of a similar arrangement established in 1993 - the so-called Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission - a reflection of the optimism of the early Clinton-Yeltsin years for better ties between Washington and Moscow.

Those hopes were squandered and collapsed in bitterness at the Nato bombing of Serbia during the Kosovo war.

The hope today is that, despite all their differences, these new institutions can help forge a new relationship between Russia and the US appropriate for the global politics of the 21st Century.



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