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Obama, Medvedev Pledge To Improve Ties

President Obama spoke with four of his counterparts on the phone yesterday -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
The most noteworthy of those calls was to Medvedev due to deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia in the last several years. A statement from the White House says the two leaders discussed "stopping the drift" and agreed to meet to talk about "shared challenges and opportunities."

"President Obama said that the U.S. and Russia have a significant role to play in leading the rest of the world in reducing nuclear arsenals and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, technologies, and materials," the statement read. "The presidents agreed that, as they were both new leaders from a post-Cold War generation, they have a unique opportunity to establish a fundamentally different kind of relationship between our two countries."

Medvedev's office said the Russian leader congratulated Mr. Obama on his inauguration and echoed that the two presidents discussed working to improve relations, reports the Associated Press. Medvedev's press service also said both leaders said they were ready to make efforts to ensure ties between the countries live up to their potential.

(AP Photo/ Jeff Pachoud, Pool)
In his calls with Sarkozy and Merkel, at left, and with da Silva, Mr. Obama stressed the importance of U.S. relations with their respective countries. He also pledged cooperation in dealing with the global economic crisis.

Mr. Obama also said he was looking forward to meeting with the European leaders at two world summits in early April – the G-20 Summit in London on April 1-2 and NATO Summit in Germany and France on April 3-4.

The full statement from the White House is below:


Statement from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

Today, President Obama spoke with his counterparts in Brazil, France, Germany, and Russia.

President Obama emphasized to President da Silva the importance of a strong bilateral relationship between their two countries. The two presidents discussed areas where the U.S. and Brazil could deepen cooperation on the environment, energy, and efforts to resolve the global economic crisis. President Obama reassured President da Silva that resolving the economic crisis was the number one focus of his Administration, and they committed themselves to working together moving forward.

During his call with President Sarkozy, President Obama underscored his commitment to a strong U.S.-French partnership in confronting global challenges to bring about greater stability and prosperity in the world. The two leaders agreed to coordinate closely on responses to the global financial crisis and in preparations for the upcoming G-20 Summit in London April 1-2. The President said he was looking forward to visiting France to participate in the April 3-4 NATO Summit in Strasbourg and Kehl (Germany). The leaders also discussed their shared commitment to Afghanistan, including a comprehensive strategy which includes military, diplomatic, and civilian reconstruction and development efforts. They discussed the need to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza and greater efforts to stop arms-smuggling. The President and President Sarkozy also agreed to continue close cooperation on Iran.

President Obama underscored with President Merkel his commitment to a strong U.S.-German partnership in confronting global challenges. The two leaders agreed to coordinate closely on responses to the global financial crisis and in preparations for the upcoming G-20 Summit in London April 1-2. The President also said he was looking forward to April 3-4 NATO Summit in Germany and France. President Obama expressed his concerns about arms smuggling into Gaza and the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and previewed the mission of Special Envoy Mitchell. The two presidents discussed their shared commitment to Afghanistan, including a comprehensive strategy for success which includes military, diplomatic, and civilian reconstruction and development efforts. They also discussed a common desire to address climate change.

President Obama and President Medvedev spoke about the importance of stopping the drift in U.S./Russia relations and building a serious agenda for their bilateral relationship. They agreed on the need to meet to discuss the shared challenges and opportunities faced by our two countries. President Obama said that the U.S. and Russia have a significant role to play in leading the rest of the world in reducing nuclear arsenals and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, technologies, and materials. The President also stressed the importance of continued coordination with all major economic powers to put the world on the path to economic recovery. The Presidents discussed the common threats our nations face in Afghanistan and agreed to cooperate more closely on the challenges there. The Presidents agreed that, as they were both new leaders from a post-Cold War generation, they have a unique opportunity to establish a fundamentally different kind of relationship between our two countries.

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