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Obama Meets Medvedev


President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia talk as they wait for their lunch at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Va., June 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The United States and Russia have made significant progress in building a cooperative relationship.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, President Barack Obama said, "I firmly believe that America's most significant national security interests and priorities could be advanced most effectively through cooperation, not an adversarial relationship, with Russia."

By any measure, said President Obama, the United States and Russia have made significant progress in building a cooperative relationship. Together, both leaders negotiated and signed in April 2010 the New START Treaty, which commits the U.S. and Russia to reduce substantially their deployed nuclear weapons. Presidents Obama and Medvedev pledged to push for ratification of the treaty as soon as possible.

In addition, the U.S. and Russia worked closely toward the United Nations Security Council's adoption of a fourth round of sanctions on Iran for its continued refusal to abide by its international obligations regarding its nuclear program. The U.S. and Russia also continue to consult with the Republic of Korea and other U.N. Security Council member states to develop an international response to North Korea's unprovoked attack on the South Korean naval vessel, the Cheonan.

Russian transit routes play a vital role in supplying American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In an effort to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, both countries agreed in April 2010 to eliminate enough plutonium for about 17,000 nuclear weapons.

The United States continues to expand trade opportunities with Russia. Illustrating the high-tech jobs the two countries can create together and consistent with the National Export Initiative, Boeing Aircraft will sell Russia 50 new planes, worth 4 billion dollars.

The United States remains a strong supporter of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization. "Russia," said President Obama, "belongs in the WTO. That's good for Russia, it's good for America, and it's good for the world economy." The two presidents agreed to aim to resolve by September 30th a small number of bilateral issues as part of an effort to complete the steps for Russia to join the WTO.

The simple fact is that the world is a safer place and our peoples can be more prosperous when the United States and Russia get on well together. That is why the United States will continue to seek out ways to build and strengthen its cooperation with Russia.

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