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US president, RF SC secretary discuss cooperatn, situation in Syria

May 23, 2013, 9:54 UTC+3

The U.S. president confirmed the willingness to consolidate bilateral relations, including U.S.-Russian economic ties

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WASHINGTON, May 23 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev during their meeting in the White House on Wednesday discussed relations between the United States and Russia, including in the economic area, fight against terrorism and the situation in Syria.

Obama joined the meeting between Patrushev and U.S. presidential National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said on Wednesday.

The U.S. president confirmed the willingness to consolidate bilateral relations, including U.S.-Russian economic ties. They also talked about the importance of deeper cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the necessity of political settlement in Syria through negotiations.

Obama said he hoped to see Vladimir Putin during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland in June. He also expressed appreciation for the Russian president's condolences in connection with the deaths of people in the tornado in Oklahoma and for the readiness to provide help for the affected people.

Patrushev handed over Russian President Vladimir Putin's message to Obama during their meeting, the press service of the Russian Embassy in Washington told Itar-Tass.

Putin prepared the message in reply to Obama's letter, which Donilon handed over in Moscow in April. Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov noted the document was taken rather positively in the Kremlin. The American leader's letter is constructive and contains a number of proposals to deepen the bilateral dialogue and cooperation. The message covers political and military issues, including on missile defence and nuclear arsenals, Ushakov said.

There are also proposals in the trade and economic area to develop the idea presented by Putin during the meeting with Obama in Los Cabos (the G20 summit in June last year), when he noted that first of all they needed to create a safety net to support at hard moments when political considerations create such difficulties, the presidential aide noted.

The Russian president's message would be of a constructive character, he said. It will reflect Moscow’s position on the missile defence problem and the need for security services of the two courtiers to cooperate. The document has a clear paragraph about the need and the importance of close cooperation between the security services, with the political situation taken into consideration, the official noted.

Before the visit to Washington, Patrushev told reporters that he was planned not only to hand over the letter, but also to hold consultations with the U.S. National Security Council, and first of all with the U.S. president's National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon.

When asked how optimistic he was about the future of Russian-American relations, the Russian SC secretary answered he had no pessimism over this.

The Russian and U.S. presidents are expected to meet three times this year. Their nearest meeting is planned for mid-June in Northern Ireland during the G8 summit. Then, Obama plans to visit Russia in early September to participate in the St. Petersburg G20 summit. The APEC summit is also planned for next autumn, and the two presidents traditionally participate in summits of the organization.

Patrushev also met in Washington with U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel. Pentagon press secretary George Little said that on Tuesday they discussed a number of issues, including missile defence, broader military cooperation and the continuing crisis in Syria. Hagel hopes to continue the dialogue with Russian leaders dealing with security issues and to meet his counterpart Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

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