Obama: U.S. wants strong, peaceful Russia

U.S. President Barack Obama and First  Lady Michelle Obama greet graduates at the New Economic School.
A strong Russia is good for the United States, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a speech in Moscow, which he is visiting in an effort to "reset" the countries’ relations.

Addressing an audience including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and graduates at a Moscow business school, Obama said Washington wanted to work in partnership with a “strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia.” “This belief is rooted in our respect for the Russian people, and a shared history between our nations that goes beyond competition,” he said. On Monday, Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and concluded a series of agreements — including one on nuclear arms reduction — as part of an effort to strengthen ties between the former Cold War rivals. The two-day summit in Moscow was needed to help “reset” a relationship that, according to Obama, “has suffered from a sense of drift” in recent years. The president reiterated that in his speech Tuesday. “That is why I have called for a ‘reset’ in relations between the United States and Russia,” he said. “This must be more than a fresh start between the Kremlin and the White House, though that is important, and I have great discussion with your president and prime minister.

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“It must be a sustained effort among the American and Russian people to identify mutual interests, and to expand dialogue and cooperation that can pave the way to progress.” Obama was due to meet with Medvedev again Tuesday and with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin before heading to Italy for the Group of Eight summit. The G-8 agenda is packed with issues including Iran, the global financial crisis, climate change and eradicating world poverty.

Medvedev and Obama on Monday signed a deal on parameters for negotiations to replace the Start treaty, with the goal of reducing nuclear weapons. The Start treaty expires December 5. Watch Obama’s full opening statement in Russia » Under Monday’s agreement, Russia and the U.S. will reduce their strategic warheads to a range of 1,500 to 1,675, and their strategic delivery vehicles to 500 to 1,100. The expiring Start treaty allows 2,200 warheads and 1,600 launch vehicles. Watch Obama discuss arms control pact »