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Russia's Medvedev Expects Early Obama Talks

Russia's Dmitry Medvedev (right) hopes to meet Barack Obama soon, Foreign Minister Lavrov (left) said.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said his country's president anticipates a meeting with incoming U.S. President Barack Obama shortly after his inauguration next month, Interfax news agency reported.

"President [Dmitry] Medvedev and Barack Obama agreed to work on the basis of pragmatism and hold a top-level meeting soon after Obama's inauguration," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying at a meeting with U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (Republican, Indiana).

Relations between the outgoing administration of U.S. President George W. Bush and the Kremlin have been marred by a long list of disputes ranging from Kosovo's independence and the Georgia war to Washington's planned missile shield in Europe.

Earlier this month, powerful Russian Prime Minister and ex-President Vladimir Putin said he wanted better ties under Obama, and said Moscow would respond positively if his country's interests were taken into account by Washington.

Lavrov also struck a conciliatory note and said both countries should work towards eliminating their differences, Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying.

"Russia is ready for this and it hopes that the new [U.S.] administration will also be ready to consider any issues and strive for looking for mutually acceptable solutions," Lavrov said.

Lugar is holding a series of meetings in Moscow to sound out the prospects for an intensified dialogue on future nuclear arms cuts after the Obama administration takes office.

No date or location has yet been released for a possible meeting between Medvedev and Obama.