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MOSCOW, June 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama will have their first bilateral summit on Monday, on the sidelines of the G20 Los Cabos event. They will meet before the first G20 session, upon the end of the BRICS mini-summit.
The meeting will last for 90 minutes and have several dozens of items on the agenda, primarily the “Magnitsky bill” advocated by the U.S. Congress, U.S. missile defense in Europe, the Syrian conflict, the Iranian nuclear program and the situation in Afghanistan.
That would be the second personal meeting of Putin and Obama. They met for the first time in 2009, during Obama’s visit to Russia. “There were telephone conversations later on, including two long conversations upon the election of Vladimir Putin for president,” Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov told a press briefing at the Kremlin on Sunday.
“We expect a detailed discussion of a broad range of issues on the Russian-U.S. agenda,” he said. “Putin and Obama will make a joint statement. The six-page document has been practically coordinated. It stresses the readiness of the sides to build up bilateral relations, to cooperate on the international scene and to broaden trade, economic and other contacts.”
“The upcoming meeting will confirm the continuity of the Russia-U.S. dialog and plan further interaction in the business-like and constructive tone. Russia is interested in a stable and smooth relationship with the United States, which meets the interests of both countries and the world at large,” Ushakov said. “Importantly, the U.S. administration shares this wish confirmed in Obama’s message to Putin of May 2 and the Russian president’s reply of May 16 handed over to Obama by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the G8 Camp David summit. The presidents confirmed their mutual striving for broader and deeper cooperation and its new level,” he noted.
“Stepping stones have been laid lately in Russia-U.S. relations, and the atmosphere of the bilateral dialog has become more positive,” the Kremlin said. “The Presidential Commission formed in 2009, which has created 20 working groups, is an efficient coordination mechanism, which boosts cooperation in various spheres, from agriculture to space, from the suppression of terrorism and drug trafficking to innovations, culture and education exchanges,” the aide said. “The commission teaches departments and organizations of both countries to develop direct contacts, exchange experience, implement innovative ideas and carry out joint projects.”
“Two more working groups are being formed at the Presidential Commission – the working group on military-technical cooperation, which was unthinkable in the past, and the working group on information security. The total number of groups will reach 22, and there may be more groups formed in the future,” he said.
“Other tangible results of latest cooperation include the signing of a new START Treaty, which increases global security, and the agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy, which broadens contacts of scientists and energy workers,” Ushakov said.
“Russia contributed to the stabilization in Afghanistan with its permission of military transit through its territory. About 2,600 transit flights of U.S. aircraft have been done since September 2009 [to transport almost 255,000 servicemen and approximately 60,000 tonnes of cargo], and 38,000 NATO containers were transported along Russian railroads,” he said.
“The agreement relaxing visa formalities, which is being ratified by the State Duma, is a breakthrough. If the agreement enters into force, Russian and U.S. tourists and businessmen will be issued with three-year multi-entry visas. Visa-free travel is the next goal,” the aide said.
“Close coordination of Russian and U.S. actions was a token of the successful completion of the many-year marathon of the Russian accession to the WTO. The [WTO] membership will enable a manifold growth of Russia-U.S. trade, create jobs and increase prosperity of both countries,” he said.
“The May 16 message of Putin proposed to focus on trade and investments. There are prerequisites for a breakthrough on the economic track. Bilateral trade reached the record sum of $31.2 million last year, which was 14.3% more than in the pre-crisis year 2008. A number of new agreements were reached in various sectors, including the unprecedented strategic partnership deal of Rosneft and ExxonMobil on the development of fields in the Kara and Black Seas and in West Siberia, the establishment of the Arctic shelf research center in St. Petersburg and joint projects in the U.S. and third countries,” the aide said.
“Our companies increasingly focus on joint productions with a high added value, such as the manufacturing of gas turbine units, medical equipment and vehicles. The number of U.S. participants in the Russian analog of the Silicon Valley – Skolkovo – is on the rise. Russian capital is gaining positions in the U.S., including the U.S. high-tech sector,” Ushakov said.
“Acting in the spirit of partnership, our countries are capable of finding solutions to the most difficult problems for the sake of further cooperation and strengthening of international security, for which Russia and the United States bear special responsibility as the biggest nuclear powers,” he said.
“There must be no failures or negative rhetoric, which poisons the atmosphere of bilateral relations. We think that our dialog can be successful only if it is based on equality, mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs. We are prepared for the continuation of the joint work aimed at new achievements,” Ushakov concluded.