U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and Russia share
many common interests, including reversing the spread of nuclear
weapons and defeating violent extremists.
Mr. Obama told students at Moscow's New Economic School the issue of
nuclear proliferation is the "core of the nuclear challenge in the 21st
The president reaffirmed his goal of resetting relations with Moscow
and stressed that the U.S. wants a "strong, peaceful and prosperous
Russia." He said both nations should oppose efforts by Iran and North
Korea to acquire and expand their ability to build nuclear weapons.
He stressed the importance of the agreement he signed Monday with his
Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev on guidelines for a new bilateral
pact that would sharply reduce the number of nuclear weapons and
delivery vehicles in the U.S. and Russian arsenals.
Mr. Obama said a proposed U.S. missile defense system for Europe, which
Russia bitterly opposes, is directed at preventing a potential attack
from Iran. He said if the Iranian threat is eliminated, there would be
no need for the missile defense system.
Other common goals outlined by the president in his speech included
global prosperity, democracy and the need for nations to work through
strong international institutions. He said America is devoted to
democracy, because governments that "serve their own people survive and
thrive," and are far less likely to descend into failed states.
The U.S. president is winding up the final day of the Moscow summit
meeting with Russian and U.S. business leaders as well as Russian
Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Obama held a long breakfast meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his home outside Moscow.
The Russian prime minister said his country was hoping for better
relations with the United States under the new U.S. president. Mr.
Obama praised Mr. Putin's extraordinary work as both president and
prime minister, and said their talks presented an "excellent
opportunity" to put bilateral relations on a much stronger footing.
Last week, Mr. Obama said Prime Minister Putin's world view remained
stuck in the Cold War era. The U.S. leader had also said that Mr.
Putin, who picked Mr. Medvedev to succeed him as president, "still has
a lot of swayin Russia."