After an 11th-hour push by the White House this past week to push the START Treaty through, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev complimented President Obama while saying he hopes Americans aren't soured on the "reset button."
In a wide-ranging interview Friday with Russia's main TV stations, Medvedev called the treaty "the cornerstone for ensuring security during the next decades in the world and in Europe."
Russia's lower house of parliament — the State Duma — gave tentative approval to the treaty, but it signaled full ratification wouldn't be until January "at the earliest" as lawmakers signaled apprehension at two amendments passed by the Senate and are now proposing their own.
Russian lawmakers will return Jan. 11 from the holiday recess. The treaty will need approval from the Federation Council, which is the upper house of parliament. The Kremlin's party, United Russia, controls both houses of parliament.
"I am very pleased that we are moving towards the ratification of the document," Medvedev said.
"It's easy for me to work with Obama," Medvedev said. "He is a person who can hear and listen, a person who is not captivated by some stereotypes, a person, who in principle meets the following requirement: He keeps his promises, whether it goes about the START Treaty or the WTO, or the work on international affairs."
But perhaps answering to the divide over START ratification that reflected unprecedented public interest and outcry over the arms treaty, Medvedev said he hoped Obama can handle the dissent and keep moving forward with the "reset button."
"There are people in America who sympathize with the so-called reset of
relations," the Russian president said. "There are also people who shudder at the thought of it —
they believe that all evil in the world is concentrated in the Russian
"I just hope that the American society and the American establishment will have enough tact and vigor to continue the course," he said. "It will probably be harder for President Obama to do that, but I hope that he will be able to handle these problems."