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Russian Foreign Minister Welcomes Obama Review

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
LONDON (Reuters) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has welcomed a U.S. review of relations with Moscow, but reiterated hostility toward NATO expanding into the former Soviet Union.

"When we hear signals from Washington that they want to 'reset' our relations...we welcome this," Lavrov told the "Financial Times" in an interview.

He was referring to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's comments that the United States wanted to "hit the reset button" with Moscow.

However, he said Russia remains firmly opposed to NATO expansion into the former Soviet Union.

"Why this drive to mark geopolitical space which some people believed became vacant? ... It's moving the dividing lines which we all agreed should be eliminated," he said.

He also described U.S. President Barack Obama's video message to Iran promoting dialogue as a "very welcome step."

Lavrov said the global financial crisis needs to be dealt with by everyone following the "ground rules," adding that this will help rebuild international trust.

"We expect that collective efforts in the financial and economic sphere would give a more pragmatic, and respectively, more realistic reference frame," he said.

"Let us remember that focusing common efforts on the real tasks of crisis recovery will help rebuild trust in the sphere of military policy, too, relieving the negative impact of unilateral ideology-driven projects and the inertia of 'zero sum games.' "