Christi Parsons and Megan K. Stack / Los Angeles Times – 2009-04-02 22:51:34
MOSCOW & LONDON (April 2, 2009) — President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed Wednesday to open negotiations on a treaty that could slash their nuclear arsenals by one-third, part of what they described as a step “to move beyond Cold War mentalities” in relations between the two countries.
The agreement to undertake the most significant arms control talks in more than a decade emerged from the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, and included a promise by Obama to visit Moscow this summer to pursue the talks.
“Over the last several years, the relationship between our two countries has been allowed to drift,” Obama said. “What I believe we’ve begun today is a very constructive dialogue that will allow us to work on issues of mutual interest.”
The schism has developed over issues such as NATO expansion into countries once part of the Soviet Union. It soured even further last summer when Russian troops fought a war with Georgia, aUS ally.
Wednesday’s consensus on the need for new nuclear weapons talks was the most concrete expression yet of the Obama administration’s decision to opt for improved relations with Russia rather than greater confrontation. In turn, Medvedev said he is prepared to cooperate on nonproliferation, among other issues.
“It is important to note that there are many points on which we can work,” he said. “And indeed there are far more points where we can come closer, where we can work, rather than those points on which we have differences.”
© 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.