(AFP) – Jun 29, 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Russia's top diplomat cautioned against overly-optimistic expectations for an upcoming meeting between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, saying in an article Monday that improved relations "will take time."
"There is a new dynamic in Russia-US relations -- a positive change that reflects the imperatives of these challenging times," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's wrote in Newsweek magazine .
"As President Medvedev has noted, a crisis of trust developed between us in recent years," he said.
"Our political relationship became too adversarial. Overcoming this legacy will take time."
Moscow's foreign minister added that "Russia and the US must jointly manage expectations to ensure that attempts to 'reset' our relationship succeed."
"This does not mean shying away from setting ambitious goals," he said.
"But it does require a sober assessment of what is really possible, and the time it will take to accomplish these goals."
US-Russian relations deteriorated significantly during former president George W. Bush's second term over a US anti-missile shield for Poland and the Czech Republic, plans to expand NATO to Russia's border and the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia -- a key US ally in the region.
Since Obama's arrival at the White House, relations between the two powers have improved.
Russian and American officials are engaged in discussions on reducing their nuclear arsenals, ahead of the expiration in December of the nuclear disarmament START I treaty, negotiated during the last months of the USSR in 1991.
The Kremlin has not excluded the possibility that an agreement on strategic arsenal reductions will be reached during Obama's visit to Moscow July 6 to 8, but agreement is likely to depend on whether outstanding discord over the US anti-missile shield program can be resolved.
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