By Sam Youngman - 05/26/11 01:08 PM EDT
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sought Thursday to put to rest any speculation that their relationship is strained, telling reporters in France that the relationship between the two countries has been successfully “reset.”
Obama, who is in France for a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders and the G-8 summit, ticked off a list of areas where the two countries are working together and hailed the Senate’s passage of the New START Treaty as proof relations are strong.
“Over the past two years, I think that we have built an outstanding relationship and, as a consequence, we’ve been able to reset relations between the United States and Russia in a way that is good for the security and the prosperity of both of our countries,” Obama said.
On economic issues, the president again endorsed Russia’s acceptance into the World Trade Organization, saying it “will be good for the Russian economy, will be good for the U.S. economy, it will be good for the world economy.”
“And we are confident that we can get this done,” Obama said. “And it will be a key building block in expanding trade and commerce that create jobs and benefit both countries.”
The two men also said they discussed the thorny issue of missile defense, where Medvedev offered a less than rosy scenario for finding agreement in the near future.
“I have told my counterpart, Barack Obama, that this issue will be finally solved in the future, like, for example, in the year 2020, but we, at present, might lay the foundation for other politicians’ activities,” Medvedev said. “And this would be a sound foundation for cooperation between our two countries in the future. We will, of course, pursue this track, but political impetus are necessary.”
Obama said he is “committed to working together so that we can find an approach and configuration that is consistent with the security needs of both countries, that maintains the strategic balance and deals with potential threats that we both share.”
Medvedev said twice in his translated remarks that he wanted to “emphasize that I am satisfied with our personal relationship that helps us advance the relations between our two countries.”