Putin sees promise in Obama presidency

Jan. 17, 2009 at 11:59 AM
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DRESDEN, Germany, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Russian Prime Minster Vladimir Putin says he believes U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will follow through on promises for better bilateral relations.

Speaking Saturday in Dresden, Germany, Putin told local media that the occasion of Obama's inauguration Tuesday could mark the beginning of an improvement in recently strained dealings between Russia and the United States, RIA Novosti reported.

"We will wait for the practical realization of what we saw during the election campaign," Putin said, adding that Russia had paid great attention to last year's presidential elections. "Obama looks like an open, sincere person. Time will tell," he said.

Putin told reporters there were "positive signals" coming from Obama on the sore subject of a planned U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe as well as on efforts by Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO, which Russia opposes.

RIA Novosti reported Putin said there was common ground between Russia and the United States on such subjects as arms control, the Middle East, Iran and Afghanistan, as well as on the global economic crisis.

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