President Barack Obama and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasized the
positive aspects of the two countries' relationship as they met at the White
House Thursday. They were preparing for Mr. Obama's summit with Russian
President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow this July.
As they talked to
reporters after meeting in the Oval Office, Mr. Obama and the Russian foreign
minister avoided the contentious issues that divide their countries.
The president said he looks forward to improving U.S.-Russian
"As I have said before, I think we have an excellent
opportunity to reset the relationship between the United States and Russia on a
whole host of issues," said President Obama.
Despite disagreements over
Georgia, U.S. missile defense in Europe and NATO expansion, the two officials'
statements to reporters focused on the presidents' meeting in July. It will be
Mr. Obama's first formal summit with his Russian counterpart. Lavrov brought the
U.S. president a message of welcome.
"And I can convey to you once again that President
Medvedev is really looking forward to meeting you in Moscow this July," said
Presidents Obama and Medvedev hope to consider a framework
for a new strategic arms agreement during their summit.
The U.S. and
Russia begin talks May 18 on a deal to replace the START-One strategic arms
treaty, which runs out at the end of the year.
Lavrov met with U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier on Thursday.