Subscription and demo access

About Interfax
Press Releases
Products & Services
Contact us
Customer Login


09/16 10:01   No one has lifted OPEC+ obligations, Russia is adhering to them - minister
09/16 09:59   Sentsov sees no serious changes at home, sad that 'everyone is fighting everyone'
09/16 09:54   Russia sees no need for emergency measures within OPEC+ due to Saudi situation
09/16 09:47   Russian military report deployment of S-400 missile systems on Novaya Zemlya
09/16 09:37   Russian foreign minister to visit Kazakhstan in October
09/16 09:35   Banks have 2612.3 bln rbs on CBR correspondent accounts on September 16
09/16 09:27   Ankara summit may address attack on Saudi Aramco facilities - Peskov (Part 2)

You can access a demo version of, recieve more information about or subscribe to Interfax publications by filling in and sending the form below.

First name:

Last name:







Please enter the digits in the box below:  |  Interviews  |  Barack Obama: President Medvedev and I are looking for win-win outcomes


June 24, 2010

Barack Obama: President Medvedev and I are looking for win-win outcomes

On the eve of Russian President Dmitry Medvedevs visit to Washington U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about U.S.-Russian relations and the agenda of the upcoming talks in an exclusive interview with Interfax correspondent Peter Cheremushkin.

Question: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is coming to Washington for the third time while you are in the office, but it will be his first state visit to the United States. What are your expectations from this visit? What are the concrete agreements that the United States is interested to conclude with Russia at this visit?

Answer: Since meeting a year ago in Moscow Presidents Medvedev and I have worked closely together to end the drift in U.S.-Russian relations and reset relations on a more constructive path that allows us to pursue policies of mutual benefit to the American and Russian people. In 18 months, we signed the new START treaty, expanded Russias participation in the Northern Distribution Network to supply our troops and those of our allies and partners in Afghanistan, reached agreement on new UN Security Council resolutions to deter nuclear proliferation activities by North Korea and Iran, and cooperated on a number of non-proliferation activities, including an agreement that commits both our countries to secure enough nuclear material for 17,000 nuclear weapons. In addition, President Medvedev and I oversaw the resumption of military-to-military cooperation and established a broad agenda for cooperation through the 16 working groups established under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. This record of achievement gives us a solid foundation on which to expand our cooperation in other areas.

During President Medvedevs upcoming visit, I am especially interested in discussing ways that the U.S. and Russia can enhance trade and investment between our two countries and work together to create conditions conducive to fostering innovation. Given President Medvedevs interest in innovation, I think it is very appropriate that he is beginning his trip in California and visiting the Silicon Valley, one of the centers of innovation and entrepreneurship in our country.

Q.: Over the last year of you being in the office the Russian-American relations have significantly improved, especially with the new START agreement being concluded. Looks like, we are witnessing another honeymoon in bilateral relations that hopefully wont be completed with another divorce as it happened in August of 2008. However, your critics are insisting that you are making too many concessions to the Kremlin while not getting anything back from the Kremlin. What would you say to those critics?

A.: I am very pleased with the progress that we have made in resetting our relationship with Russia, and the concrete steps that we have achieved together over the last 18 months. President Medvedev and I have a very good working relationship, and my Administration is building a relationship with the Russian government and the Russian people based on mutual interests.

President Medvedev and I are deliberately trying to avoid framing U.S.-Russia relations in zero sum terms, but instead are looking for win-win outcomes. To date, we have a record of achievement that demonstrates the benefits of such an approach. Indeed, the issues that we have addressed whether Afghanistan, the new START treaty, nuclear security, Iran, or increased economic ties are fundamental to advancing both American interests and Russian interests. We do not have to make concessions on these issues, because we are building upon a foundation of common interests. And a central tenet of our new policy towards Russia is to avoid linkage between issues that have little in common with each other. So, we will continue to disagree on certain issues, but that need not stand in the way of cooperation that can be mutually beneficial.

Q.: The issue of development and deployment of the U.S. ABM program in Europe remains a serious point of conflict between U.S. and Russia. One of U.S. congressmen even said that the deployment of ABM near the Russian borders is an insult to Russia. Why United States is so eager to develop the system that even did not prove to be workable?

A.: The American and Russian people increasingly face threats from countries that are developing more sophisticated missiles. We will be more able to address these threats together, and thats why I am a strong proponent of cooperating with Russia on developing missile defense systems. We have recently proposed to the Russian government a number of ways to begin this cooperation. I believe that cooperative missile defense with Russia has enormous potential, since the sharing of our technologies and information, which we currently collect about missile launches from third countries, can make both of our countries more secure.

The phased adaptive approach to ballistic missile defense that we have proposed to deploy in Europe is not directed against Russia but is intended to protect our allies, our partners, and the American people from threats emanating from other countries such as Iran. In addition to this program we are developing missile defense in other parts of the world and want to work with Russia to be a key player and beneficiary in this global architecture.

Q.: Counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan are the core issues of Obama administration in the foreign policy. What cooperation would you like to see from Russia in Afghanistan aside from the transit of the military cargo that proved to be quite successful?

A.: Both the United States and Russia are threatened by violent extremists and have suffered tragic losses in terrorist attacks. Afghanistan and Pakistan are priorities for my Administration because of the continued threat posed not just to the United States, but to nations around the world by al-Qaeda and their extremist allies.

I am quite pleased with the increasing cooperation the United States enjoys with the Russian Federation on Afghanistan. Not only are we collaborating on transit of troops, supplies, and equipment, but we also are engaged in substantive exchanges of intelligence about drug traffickers and terrorists and their financing, coordinating assistance efforts for the Afghan government to help build capacity of the Afghan Counter-Narcotics Police and Afghan National Army, working together within the framework of the UN to both sanction Taliban and al Qaeda as well as promote reconciliation efforts, supporting interdiction efforts through the framework of the Paris Pact initiative, and collaborating to stem the flow of precursor chemicals to Afghanistan used to process heroin. In addition the Russian Federation has taken a leadership role in the international community by organizing meetings bringing together countries to tackle the problem of illicit drugs emanating from Afghanistan.

Q.: The issue that is bothering Russia most of all as related to Afghanistan and U.S. policy in Afghanistan is an increasing flow of drugs to Russia that became the result of U.S. policy to stop eradication of the opium poppy in Afghanistan. The idea that looks sound theoretically to give an alternative source of income to the peasants in Afghanistan from the agriculture, in practice proves to be irrelevant and leads to the serious in-flow of narcotics to the Russian Federation. Is there any way the United States can reverse its policy on this subject?

A.: Illicit opium cultivation and production in Afghanistan has been a long-standing problem that has grown more entrenched. The problem is complex and requires a comprehensive, strategic approach that addresses not only providing alternative livelihoods for farmers, but also stepping up interdiction efforts, destroying drug labs, interrupting trafficking of illicit opiates and precursor chemicals used to process heroin, attacking financial assets of traffickers, preventing money laundering and diversion of illicit proceeds to terrorists, and promoting comprehensive informational campaigns to dissuade farmers from cultivating opium. In addition, intensifying demand reduction efforts both in Afghanistan and in those countries that are consumers of Afghan opiates is no less important. We are working closely with our Russian and other international partners in all of these areas. While we may not always agree on the tactics, we share the same objectives and will continue to listen to Russian views and experiences.

Q.: It looks like the democracy in Russia is no longer an issue for the current Administration while there is cooperation on strategic issues such as arms control, Afghanistan, Iran, non-proliferation. U.S. human rights activists recognize that America has no leverage to influence Russia on such issues as human rights.

A.: As I made clear last year in Moscow and most recently in my National Security Strategy my Administration is committed to advancing universal values around the world, including in Russia. We do not seek to impose our system of government on anyone else, and we believe that keeping our democracy strong at home helps us to inspire and support others seeking to build democracy in their own countries. And in Russia we see partners both in the state and society who are committed to protecting human rights and improving democratic governance. Public opinion polls also show that the majority of Russian citizens want to select their leaders directly rather than have someone choose their leaders for them; belief in constraints on government power and the rule of law applied equally to all, and desire access to independent media. So, when we advocate for human rights and democracy in Russia, we are not exporting American values but affirming our shared values.

The best way to advance these common values is through engagement, specifically dual track engagement interaction with the Russian government and with Russian society. For instance, when I was in Moscow last summer, I met with President Medvedev and Prime Minister [Vladimir] Putin and discussed these issues. But I also met with students, business executives, human rights defenders, civil society leaders, and political opposition figures. And when we witness injustices or abuses, my Administration has been quick to raise concerns both publicly and privately.


U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman, who will leave his post in early October, has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about exchanges at the highest level between Moscow and Washington, a possibility of Russias return to G8, as well as his vision of the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty on that is expected on August 2, about Russia‘s response to the U.S. and NATO possible deployment of missiles banned by the treaty, and about whether the Cuban Missile Crisis may repeat itself.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold negotiations on the sidelines of the Petersburg Dialogue forum in Germany on Thursday. Maas has given an interview to Interfax ahead of the forum, in which he speaks about prospects of settling the conflict in Ukraine, Germanys preparations for ensuring security in the absence of the INF Treaty and attempts to save the Iranian nuclear deal.

German Ambassador to Russia Rudiger von Fritsch, who is leaving Moscow after a five-year mission, told Interfax about the state of affairs in bilateral relations, Germanys position on the Nord Stream 2 project amidst sanction risks, and assessed prospects for settling the crisis in Ukraine under the new authorities in Kyiv.

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about results of the trilateral meeting on Afghanistan settlement that took place in Moscow on April 25, prospects of the intra-Afghan meeting in Doha, and Russia‘s role in the Afghan issue.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has given an interview to Interfax ahead of the Alliances 70th anniversary that is to be celebrated on April 4. He speaks in the interview about the NATOs vision of future relations with Russia, its attitude to the situation surrounding the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty and the New START Treaty, as well as further plans of expanding the Alliance.

British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the current situation in the relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia, the impact of the Skripal case on it, the restoration of the numbers of diplomatic staff, exchange of information on counter-terrorism, possible introduction of sanctions over the Kerch Strait incident, the INF Treaty, and British-Russian economic relations.


 ©   1991—2019   "Interfax News Agency" JSC. All rights reserved.
Contact information   |   Privacy Policy   |   Interfax offices   |   made by web.finmarket

News and other data on this site are provided for information purposes only, and are not intended for republication or redistribution. Republication or redistribution of Interfax content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Interfax.

Browse other Interfax sites:   |   IFX.RU   |   Interfax Group   Rambler's Top100