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Russia and USA: No breakthrough, but strengthening relations
April 7, 2008 15:43

The last summit for the present Russian and American presidents took place in Sochi, Saturday, April 5. The two presidents without breaking though signed a Strategic Framework Declaration, which will be the base for the future relations between Russia and the USA under new presidents.

The meeting in Sochi was the last one for George Bush and Vladimir Putin as presidents. The summit was initially made up to sum up the eight years of their acquaintance, where the heads of the states would give a push and advice how to manage the bilateral relations.

The meeting at Putins Bocharov Ruchey residence in Sochi was informal. First the presidents had a look on the draft project of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, then they took a sunset walk on a pier along the Black Sea, had a dinner and watched the Kuban Cossack Choir concert.

Still the informal atmosphere didnt bring the practical results. The meeting lasted only for the set time, the presidents declared their views, but Condoleezza Rice and Russias Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had to work hard to align sides positions on the final version of the Declaration.

During the visit Mr. Bush met Russian President-Elect Dmitry Medvedev. The American president said that he was looking forward to getting to know him (Russian President-Elect), so they could work through common problems and find common opportunities. The Russian President-Elect will be working with Mr. Bush since May 2008 up to January 2009.

At the final press-conference the two presidents stated the absence of the breaking results. The Russian president marked that the Russias positions hadnt suffer much change and that the US-offered set of trust and transparency measures worth more close considering.

The Strategic Framework Declaration, which was signed in Sochi summarizes the sides view on disputable and non-disputable issues.

Strengthening nuclear nonproliferation regime, combating world terrorism, drag trafficking and trance-border criminality are recognized in the document as the most fruitful sphere for bilateral cooperation. The positive results in Russian-American cooperation are marked in the sphere of arranging Near East conflict, North Korean nuclear program and rendering assistance to Afghanistan.

Moscow and Washington have different opinion on a range of questions concerning strategic security. Among them there are the bilateral differences on the US plans to deploy its antimissile -defense shield in Eastern Europe. The Russian side has made clear that it does not agree with the decision to establish sites in Poland and the Czech Republic and reiterated its proposed alternative (says the Declaration). The sides differ on the substitution of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, which would remain in force through 2009, and on CFI Treaty, which was set a moratorium on by Russia. The Russian side also shares its discontent with NATO extension to the East and the two sides mark the necessity to coordinate the position towards the Iraq nuclear program.

Still the negotiations and the meeting as a whole are seen as positive and all unsolved or disputable issues are left to be considered to the future heads of states.


Irina Fomina


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