Will Negotiations Repair the U.S. and Russia Relationship?
President Barack Obama has traveled to Russia to hold a summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The two had met in April in London, and had decided to continue negotiations on a replacement for START 1, a nuclear arms treaty drawn in 1991 and which expires on December 5 of this year...
The Associated Press is reporting that: “More broadly, the U.S. wants to use the summit to overhaul the U.S.-Russian relationship.” (Read full AP article here.)
The United States and Russia are negotiating new arms reductions. A point of contention, however, is Russian opposition to the planned U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. The AP reports that the Russians have already allowed one concession: “...they will agree to allow the United States to use their territory and air space to move munitions and arms to U.S. and NATO forces fighting Taliban Islamic extremists in Afghanistan.”
CNN is reporting that Russian and U.S. nuclear negotiators will issue a joint statement on the framework for a new arms control agreement that would replace the START I agreement. The statement is not legally binding, but instructs that negotiations continue to create a formal agreement.
Beside the disagreement over the missile defense shield, the U.S. has another issue to contend with: the power issue. Although Medvedev is the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin is the prime minister and appears to wield significant power. Obama will also meet with Putin.
It remains to be seen if these negotiations help reset the U.S. relationship with Russia, something the Obama administration is seeking to accomplish.
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