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Russian, US presidents meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Honolulu, Hawaii

November 14, 2011, 16:35 UTC+3
The U.S. leader promised that his administration would initiate consultations with the Congress on cancelling the Jackson-Vanik amendment
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MOSCOW, November 14 (Itar-Tass) — Honolulu, the capital city of the United States’ most remote state of Hawaii, hosted an annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Presidents of Russia and the United States, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, had a meeting on the summit’s sidelines. Obama congratulated his Russian counterpart on the occasion of Russia’s accession of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. leader promised that his administration would initiate consultations with the Congress on cancelling the Jackson-Vanik amendment.

The Hawaii talks were the second meeting of the two presidents in the current year. Last time they met in May, at a Group of Eight summit in France’s Deauville, the Kommersant newspaper writes. But the preparations for the Hawaii meeting were not like the ones for the Deauville one. Thus, a source in the Russian foreign ministry told the newspaper that this time the sides had not even tried to agree any documents or statements on key problems, such as missile defence. According to the source, it was because the status of the Russian leader has changed since Deauville. Then, in May, he was a president seeking another term in office. Now, the two countries, both facing presidential election, can agree on no breakthroughs. So, both Medvedev and Obama could only publically sum up the results of their friendship of just a few years.

Bearing in mind Medvedev’s refusal to run for another term and Obama’s unwillingness to visit Russia in a foreseeable future, they are highly unlikely to meet as heads of state any more, the newspaper says. Although, it looks like Obama has said goodbye not merely to Medvedev but to the entire concept of the Russian-American reset. According to the newspaper, after Vladimir Putin is back in the Kremlin office, a setback in the relations between the two countries is next to inevitable because of a deadlock in missile defence talks. The newspaper refers to sources in both delegations who said after the Honolulu meeting that the meeting is highly likely to be a last episode both in the friendship relations between the two presidents and in their key brainchild – the reset. Having successfully reached agreements on strategic offensive weapons and Russia’s WTO membership, the sides got stuck in missile defence issues.

According to diplomatic sources, Moscow and Washington may enter a new phase of confrontation as soon as next May, after Vladimir Putin is inaugurated as Russian President. According to a source in the Russian foreign ministry, the Americans are inviting Russia’s future president to take part in a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20 through 21 to try to find a way out of the dead end in bilateral relations. The Russian side, however, does not think it possible to reach a compromise in the outstanding six months. More to it, according to the Kommersant, so far it looks like it is going to skip the Chicago summit.

Meanwhile, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper quotes U.S. President Barack Obama hailing Russia’s accession of the World Trade Organizations, although it is not yet officially fixed. To facilitate the entry on the Russian market for U.S. businesses, he promised to begin consultations with the Congress to have the Jackson-Vanik amendment cancelled.

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