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Medvedev Hails Stronger Russia-US Ties In New Year Message To Obama

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sent New Year greetings to his US counterpart Barack Obama, welcoming an improvement in relations between the two countries.

The Kremlin's press service quoted Medvedev as saying Wednesday that "Taking stock of the outgoing year, I believe we can add it to the sum total of Russian-American cooperation. We have improved our ties, expanded cooperation on the world stage."

Medvedev particularly pointed to the two major powers' readiness to heed each others' interests in grappling with the reset of relations.

The Russian leader expressed hope that next year would see the continuation of a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington to promote a stable world peace.

He also sent new year greetings to other world leaders.

Differences between Kremlin's views and that of the previous US administration on key issues have lightened after the Obama administration initiated more interaction with the Russian government.

Moscow had green-signaled US transit of supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan through Russian territory.

In a historic speech in Moscow in July, Obama called on Russians to open up for a new era of US-Russia relations, so that the governments of both the countries can work together to tackle international issues including terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Obama marked his first visit to Russia after assuming office by signing eight separate agreements with Medvedev, including a deal to negotiate a new arms control treaty to replace the 1991 START-I pact.

However, both parties failed to sign a new treaty despite holding several rounds of negotiations aimed at replacing the cold war-era deal, which expired on December 5.

Abandoning of Washington's European missile defense plan was the main condition set by Moscow to consider major cuts to its nuclear arsenal.

In September, Obama shelved the previous administration's plans to place 10 long-range ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a fixed-site radar station in the Czech Republic.

Due to a re-assessment of the threat from Iran, Washington announced a new scheme for a more flexible system, evoking serious concern by Moscow.

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