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Obama to meet Medvedev on Wednesday: US official

Last Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 12:27

Washington: US President Barack Obama will meet on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the UN general assembly, a US official said on Friday.
Next week`s talks will be the first between the two leaders since Obama on Thursday shelved Bush-era plans for an eastern European missile defence system, which had sparked a Cold War-style war of words.

US envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the talks would take place on Wednesday, the day that the UN`s annual general debate opens, bringing together world leaders and their ministers.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday praised Obama`s "brave" move to axe a planned missile shield in Europe as NATO`s chief called for a new strategic partnership with the Kremlin.

Russia had condemned plans to install an anti-missile radar in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland drawn up by Obama`s predecessor George W Bush, threatening to deploy short-range missiles in NATO`s backyard.

Moscow has now decided to freeze its move to put Iskander short-range missiles in its Kaliningrad territory between Poland and Lithuania.

"The last decision by US President Barack Obama, which cancelled the plans to build missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe, brings us good thoughts," Putin said in televised remarks.

"And I hope very much that this correct and brave decision will be followed by others," he added.

Obama announced on Thursday that he had decided to replace the shield with a more mobile system using mainly sea-based interceptors to target any attack with short and medium-range missiles, with Iran seen as the main threat.

Putin said Obama`s shift should be followed by other US measures to lift Soviet-era restrictions on the export of high technology to Russia and to help its WTO membership bid.

Ties between Moscow and the West have been slowly recovering since Obama took over at the White House, promising a "reset" in their relations.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 12:27

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