Medvedev optimistic on U.S. relations

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he holds out hope negotiations with the incoming U.S. administration can ease bilateral tensions.

In contrast to the confrontational tone he took earlier this month, Medvedev, addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington Saturday after the G20 summit, congratulated U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on his election victory and voiced optimism relations between the nations can improve, RIA Novosti reported.


"We welcome the election of Barack Obama, and count on him to take steps to overcome the problems that have built up in Russian-American relations," he said. "I believe that currently, Russian-U.S. relations lack the trust that they need."

Russia has clashed with the Bush administration on its plans to install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, saying it represents a security threat while Bush maintains it is meant to guard against attacks by "rogue nations" such as Iran. Medvedev earlier said Russia would position missiles to target the installations.

"This issue is not closed, I personally am ready to discuss it, and I hope that the new president and the new administration will have the will to discuss it," Medvedev said.


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